07/03/2013 13:13 EDT | Updated 09/02/2013 05:12 EDT

Apple hires Yves Saint Laurent CEO, stoking rumours of wearable device

Apple has hired the CEO of iconic fashion house Yves Saint Laurent to be the vice-president of its special projects division, adding to the already circulating rumours that its next device will be some form of wearable computing.

Paul Deneve, who has been based out of YSL's San Francisco offices, has held top positions at other luxury fashion brands, including Lanvin, Nina Ricci and Courreges before he became the CEO of YSL in 2011.

It's not the first time he will be working for Apple. According to his LinkedIn profile, Deneve was a sales and marketing manager for Apple Europe between 1990 and 1997.

Apple did not say exactly what special projects Deneve will be working on, but the Bloomberg news agency reported that he will be reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook.

The new vice-president's background in fashion has fuelled speculation that he was brought on board to help design Apple's new device, which some suspect will be some form of wearable computing, possibly a "smart" watch.

Earlier this week, suspicion that Apple would be coming out with a wearable device some time in the future grew stronger after it was reported that the company had submitted an application to trademark the term iWatch in Japan.

Cook suggested at a technology conference earlier this year that wearable computing devices have potential to be the next new hot technological gadgets, saying this area of consumer technology was "ripe for exploration."

Some analysts had also speculated that Deneve might be put in charge of Apple's retail division, which has been plagued by several rocky departures of top executives, including John Browett, who was fired as vice-president of retail a mere seven months after he was hired.

But the technology website ZDNet reported Wednesday that Deneve would not be in charge of the company's retail stores.

Deneve will join at least one other fashion executive at Apple. Millard Drexler, the CEO of J. Crew and formerly The Gap, sits on the company's board of directors.