Death of Jean-Marc Gaucher: Repetto loses its providential man

Repetto, the manufacturer of dance shoes and shoes, loses the author of its revival. The brand announced yesterday in a statement the death of its president and owner, Jean-Marc Gaucher, on Tuesday at the age of 70.


It is with deep sadness that we announce the sudden death of Jean-Marc“. These are the sober and modest words of his wife, Catherine Gaucher, quoted in the Repetto press release.


Described as a “lover of life“, this businessman from Montreuil lived “the American dream” the French way.


From nothing…. to everything


Jean-Marc Gaucher comes from a working class background. His father was a worker, then a cab driver, and his mother was a market gardener. He left school at the age of 15 and did a series of odd jobs.


A great lover of sports and in particular of long-distance running at a high level, he was spotted by the boss of Reebok and in 1983 became the exclusive distributor of the brand’s products in France. Hard-working and daring, he juggled his job in the sneaker company with a parallel job as a sound recordist at TF1.


Luck smiled on him nine years later, when he became CEO of the French subsidiary of the British brand as well as international vice-president.


And then everything accelerated for the young man, who made a name for himself and became a businessman, almost overnight.


In 1999, Jean-Marc Gaucher took over Repetto, which was on the verge of bankruptcy, and became the company’s chairman and CEO. Driven by a strong desire to promote French know-how, he brought a second life to the House, founded in 1947 by the eponymous designer, Rose Repetto.


He quickly made a name for himself in the luxury sector, both in France and abroad. Always looking for new opportunities, he had the idea in the early 2000s to associate his brand with great designers such as Issey Miyake in 2000, Yohji Yamamoto in 2002 and Karl Lagerfeld in 2009, as part of exclusive collaborations, which increased Repetto‘s reputation worldwide.


Karl Lagerfeld x Repetto Collection


Yohji Yamamoto x Repetto collection



His long-term goal? A constant renewal of the collections to create rarity and exclusivity, while remaining on the same basis of flat-soled shoes, reminiscent of the ballerinas of classical dancers.


In 2013, the French shoe house was awarded the state label “Living Heritage Company” by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. Created in 2005, it distinguishes French companies with artisanal and industrial know-how deemed to be of excellence.


Father of three children, he gradually delegated his responsibilities to one of his daughters, Charlotte Gaucher-Holmann. She was appointed deputy general manager in 2022, while Laurence Levy, a former L’Oréal employee, became general manager. Jean-Marc Gaucher, however, continued to chair the company. Today, Repetto is 700,000 pairs of ballerinas sold each year, 250 employees and more than 140 boutiques worldwide, including 36 in France.


Businessman and philanthropist


Over the decades, Jean-Marc Gaucher has made his company evolve, and himself with it. In 2007, for the 60th anniversary of Repetto, he created the Dance for Life Foundation. The objective of this association is to support dance schools and children who have little or no access to artistic activities. It supports schools all over the world, in Cuba, Haiti, South Africa, Brazil, Ukraine and Iraq.


But it does not stop there. Committed to the preservation of textile know-how, the businessman inaugurated the Repetto Leather Trades Training School in southwest France in 2012. Many things are taught there to apprentices, including the House’s famous technique, the sew-and-turn. Since its creation, the school has trained more than 600 students in the various leather trades.


Jean-Mac Gaucher has marked his era and several generations, both with his generosity and with his talent as a self-taught entrepreneur.



Featured photo : ©Press

Grâce à une veille accrue et à une excellente connaissance de ces secteurs, la rédaction de Luxus Magazin décrypte pour ses lecteurs les principaux enjeux économiques et technologiques de la mode, l’horlogerie, la joaillerie, la gastronomie, les parfums et cosmétiques, l’hôtellerie, et l’immobilier de prestige.


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