Is that this the tip of the celebrity-high-fashion-designer experiment? There may be, it seems, one thing even Rihanna can’t do: promote excessive style garments throughout a pandemic.
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the French luxurious group, introduced the Fenty style home to nice fanfare in 2019. However at present, they revealed that, with Rihanna, they’d “collectively made the choice to placed on maintain the ready-to-wear exercise, primarily based in Europe, pending higher situations.”
Translated, meaning the posh style arm of the Fenty empire (an empire that individually contains the lingerie line Savage X Fenty and Fenty cosmetics and skincare) will not produce any collections, regardless that it isn’t formally closed, and Rihanna stays part of LVMH.
Discussions are presently underway with the model’s staff about their future, although Bastien Renard, the label’s managing director, is remaining in place. The information was first reported by Girls’s Put on Every day.
Though it comes on the heels of a profitable $115 million fund-raising spherical for Savage X Fenty by L Catterton, the non-public fairness agency linked to LVMH, the suspension of the Fenty ready-to-wear is a uncommon failure for the world’s largest luxurious group, which additionally owns Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Celine. Additionally it is the uncommon misstep for one of many world’s best movie star polymaths: a mirrored image of each the tepid market response to the Fenty collections, in addition to the broader ongoing influence of the pandemic on the posh sector.
And it’s a reminder that simply because somebody has an unlimited cultural following and no-holds-barred style, it doesn’t imply they may make nice, authentic garments.
Solely the second luxurious style maison LVMH ever tried to construct from scratch (the primary was Christian Lacroix, which LVMH opened in 1987 and offered in 2005), Fenty was initially offered because the group’s foray into the long run: a brand new model, run by a Black lady with nice type and widespread affect however no formal old school design coaching, that may eschew the calcified system of runway exhibits for normal drops, and concentrate on digital direct-to-consumer gross sales and communication.
It appeared like a slam dunk.
Beginning a brand new luxurious style home from scratch is enormously costly for any investor, and normally takes time. However 2020 was the worst yr for the posh sector in historical past. Whereas LVMH, the most important luxurious group by gross sales, reported a gross sales rebound in latest months, largely fueled by Chinese language customers, lockdowns proceed to trigger ongoing disruption and damped group revenue. LVMH mentioned final month that their revenue in 2020 was €4.7 billion, declining by roughly a 3rd from 2019.
And in contrast to another LVMH manufacturers which have proved resilient in the course of the downturn, like Louis Vuitton and Dior, the daring experiment that was the Fenty clothes line struggled to search out its footing, one thing Jean-Jacques Guiony, LVMH chief monetary officer, alluded to final October whereas on a information name reporting the group’s third quarter 2020 outcomes.
“On Fenty style, we’re clearly nonetheless in a launching section and now we have to determine precisely what’s the proper supply. It’s not one thing that’s straightforward. We had been beginning solely from scratch,” he mentioned. “Clearly, now we have the nice assist from Rihanna on this, however I’d say it’s nonetheless a piece in progress on the subject of actually defining what the supply can be.”
Certainly, “the supply” was unclear from the beginning. On the home’s founding, a press release from LVMH learn that the brand new model can be “centered on Rihanna, developed by her,” and would take “form along with her imaginative and prescient.”
However whereas Rihanna constructed her profile partially on her personal strategic and adventurous embrace of excessive style — receiving the style icon award from the Council of Vogue Designers of America in 2014 in a see-through crystal-spangled costume, thong, and white fur boa — she usually appeared higher at selecting statement-making appears to be like for herself than creating new ones for her followers. Usually veering between oversize and extremely body-con, with a streetwear bent, the garments appeared extra spinoff than groundbreaking.
They might even have been costlier than a lot of Rihanna’s followers might need anticipated (albeit much less so than the standard LVMH providing): $940 for a padded denim jacket; $810 for a corseted shirtdress.
In the meantime, Savage X Fenty grabbed headlines with song-’n-dance-’n-celebrity-filled lingerie extravaganzas filmed reside after which streamed on Amazon, positioning itself because the empowered, inclusive reply to Victoria’s Secret in a post-#MeToo world.
This timeout the Fenty clothes model has been granted might enable it to reposition itself and refine its providing, seizing a greater second to return — maybe after the pent-up party-desires of the pandemic are unleashed. There’s a cause they haven’t closed it solely.
On Wednesday, as information concerning the LVMH partnership unfold, Savage X Fenty issued a press release outlining particulars of the brand new funding spherical, by which Jay-Z is an investor by means of his agency Marcy Enterprise Companions. Within the final yr the model has skilled “explosive income development of over 200 p.c,” the assertion learn, and the “closely subscribed” spherical would gas funding into buyer acquisition and an enlargement into retail.
“The model strikes a novel steadiness between affordability, style, and luxury, stands deeply for inclusivity and variety, and has differentiated itself by constructing a rare degree of affinity and unmatched buyer loyalty,” mentioned Jonathan Owsley, comanaging accomplice of L Catterton’s development fund.
There was no point out of the Fenty clothes line, nor the suspended experiment with LVMH.