Get prepared for the second coming of Fenty.
On Friday, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxurious group, formally confirmed not solely that the style line created by Rihanna was turning into a part of its gilded steady, but additionally that the primary merchandise from the brand new firm can be unveiled — in a couple of weeks. Thus the disruption of the established order begins.
Rihanna will grow to be the primary lady to create an unique model at LVMH, the primary lady of colour on the high of an LVMH maison, and her line would be the first new home created by the group since Christian Lacroix in 1987. It joins such storied heritage manufacturers as Dior, Givenchy, Celine and Fendi and positions Rihanna as a breakthrough designer on plenty of ranges.
The transfer is a proper acknowledgment from the institution multi-hyphenate pop star/actress/image-maker now has as a lot world forex, name-recognition and (sure) affect as designers like Hedi Slimane and Nicolas Ghesquière. That there is no such thing as a have to restrict them to the road or sportswear world. And that development within the luxurious business might not come simply from reinventing previous heritage names, however by embracing a brand new numerous, digital, direct communication-enabled actuality.
The model, whose emblem incorporates a graphic illustration of Fenty that resembles a Greek key design, in addition to the identify in white letters in opposition to a blue background with a reversed “N,” will probably be based mostly in Paris, embrace ready-to-wear, sneakers and equipment, and “is centered on Rihanna, developed by her, and takes shape with her vision,” in line with an announcement from LVMH.
It is, in different phrases, the primary model of the Instagram age supported by one of many three massive teams which have outlined the worldwide luxurious period.
“Designing a line like this with LVMH is an incredibly special moment for us,” Rihanna, 31, mentioned within the assertion. “Mr. Arnault has given me a unique opportunity to develop a fashion house in the luxury sector, with no artistic limits. I couldn’t imagine a better partner both creatively and business-wise, and I’m ready for the world to see what we have built together.”
The information of a deal between LVMH and Rihanna, whose full identify is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, was originally leaked in January, but this is the first time either party has spoken about their agreement. It marks an evolution in the celebrity-style synergy, which has progressed from one-off collaborations (Selena Gomez and Coach) to longer term deals between sports brands and stars (Beyoncé and Adidas) to, now, the sort of brand that Emilio Pucci built.
“Everybody knows Rihanna as a wonderful singer, but through our partnership at Fenty Beauty, I discovered a true entrepreneur, a real C.E.O. and a terrific leader,” Bernard Arnault, the chairman of LVMH, said in the statement, referring to the partnership Fenty has had with LVMH since 2017 to create and distribute its beauty line.
“She naturally finds her full place within LVMH,” he continued. “To support Rihanna to start up the Fenty Maison, we have built a talented and multicultural team supported by the Group resources.”
The Group resources are notably large — LVMH reported first-quarter revenues in April of 12.5 billion euros ($14.1 billion), an increase of 16 percent — and the emphasis on “multicultural,” in a time when many luxury brands are suffering from charges of cultural insensitivity and discrimination, is significant.
LVMH has been making strides in recent years to right the gender balance in luxury, appointing the first female designers of Givenchy in 2017 and Dior in 2016. It has also begun to address the need for diversity, naming Virgil Abloh as the first African-American to head Louis Vuitton men’s wear in 2018.
Fenty, however, has made inclusivity of all kinds — size, race, gender identity — part of its identity from the beginning.
Founded in 2016 under an agreement with Puma, which was then owned by the LVMH rival Kering (the brand was originally called Fenty x Puma), Fenty had its debut at New York Fashion Week before moving to Paris for two seasons and unexpectedly charming the normally suspicious French fashion world with the kind of clothes that, she said at the time, “Marie Antoinette would wear if she was going to the gym.”
In 2017, it returned to New York for a show at the Park Avenue Armory that featured freestyle motocross racers zooming around a runway and doing tricks over mounds of sparkly pink sand, demonstrating that when it comes to spectacle (and LVMH loves a fashion show spectacle), Rihanna can hold her own with any marketing machine. Last year she expanded the line to lingerie with Savage x Fenty.
Though she has not shown ready-to-wear on the runway since September 2017, there is no reason to expect the new version of Fenty will be significantly different from the old, though presumably it will benefit from the manufacturing and materials savoir-faire of LVMH.
In other words, expect haute streetwear of many sizes and shades.
Both parties declined to comment further on the plans for a show or stores, but the inclusion of a website — fenty.com — in the statement suggested that the focus, for the beginning at least, would be digital, yet another departure for a group that practically invented the concept of the flagship as brand temple.
LVMH’s first foray into original couture, Lacroix, did not end too well; it sold the brand in 2005, and the name is now largely associated with an unrelated sparkling water. Whether this story will rewrite the playbook of luxury remains to be seen. But the first chapter is about to begin.
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