LVMH Says Rihanna’s Fenty Clothing Line Is a ‘Work in Progress’

PARIS — Like her other beauty ventures, Rihanna’s new skin-care line is off to a flying start. But her fashion venture with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, launched with great fanfare last year, is still a “work-in-progress,” the luxury conglomerate admitted on Thursday.

Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH, has long professed his admiration for the singer, noting that her Fenty Beauty color cosmetics racked up sales north of $100 million within weeks of their launch via a partnership between Rihanna and LVMH-controlled Kendo.

He has been noticeably silent on the Fenty clothing line, leading to speculation that the direct-to-consumer collection is underperforming. The label recently recruited Bastien Renard, who worked for 19 years at Nike in Europe and in the U.S., as managing director.

Speaking to analysts after LVMH published third-quarter sales, chief financial officer Jean-Jacques Guiony said Rihanna’s luxury maison was still finding its footing.

“On Fenty fashion, we are obviously still in a launching phase and we have to figure out exactly what is the right offer. It’s not something that is easy. We were starting entirely from scratch,” he said.

“Obviously, we have the great help from Rihanna on this, but I would say it’s still a work in progress when it comes to really defining what the offer will be. We have successes, we have things that have worked less well, so we have to sort in between the two and really decide what should be the core strengths of the offer in the years to come,” he added.

Sources suggested Renard, a dynamic and agile executive adroit at all things digital and cutting-edge, could tweak the positioning of the brand, celebrated with pop-up events in such marquee stores as Bergdorf Goodman and Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées.

Robyn Rihanna Fenty holds the titles of founder, chief executive officer and artistic director of Fenty.

Her fashions, sold principally online at Fenty.com via see-now-buy-now drops, have skewed more to the dressy and designer end of the spectrum. The latest fashion volley is focused on denim, including oversize jackets and shirts, plus waist-cinched dresses.

WWD broke the news in January 2019 that Rihanna would enter the fashion arena with her own brand following a stint as Puma’s creative director.

Announced officially in May last year, the Fenty house is “centered on Rihanna, developed by her and takes shape with her vision in terms of rtw, shoes and accessories, including commerciality and communication of the brand,” LVMH and the music superstar said at the time.

It marked the first time LVMH — whose forte is modernizing legacy brands such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Bulgari — has launched a fashion brand from scratch since it set up a couture house for Christian Lacroix in 1987.

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Fashion And Leather Lift LVMH Amid Covid Woe

French luxury goods giant LVMH said Thursday that a sales rebound in fashion and leather goods had lifted third quarter sales to limit fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

LVMH noted a “significant improvement” as fashion and leather limited a fall in revenue to seven percent on an organic basis after the virus had wreaked havoc in the first half of the year.

Sales came in at almost 12 billion euros ($14 billion) for the quarter, above expectations of between 11.7 and 11.4 billion euros.

Fashion and leather sales have soared for LVMH with its brands like Celine Fashion and leather sales have soared for LVMH with its brands like Celine Photo: AFP / Miguel MEDINA

“Since the start of the year, LVMH has demonstrated good resilience in an economic environment severely disrupted by the serious health crisis that led to the suspension of international travel and the closure of the Group’s stores and manufacturing sites in most countries over a period of several months,” the company said in a statement.

“The encouraging signs of recovery observed in June for several of the Group’s activities were confirmed in the third quarter in all regions, notably in the United States, and in Asia, which once again grew over the period.”

Fashion and leather sales rose 12 percent on the third quarter of 2019, in marked contrast to perfumes, watches and jewellery and selective retailing, which all recorded falls.

The world’s leading luxury products group said it recorded revenue of 30.3 billion euros for January-September, down 21 percent.

Copyright AFP. All rights reserved.

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