Rihanna’s brief attack on luxury fashion with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has stopped, WWD has learned.
The music star and the French luxury giant have mutually agreed to put Fenty maison on hold, less than two years after the launch.
The brand stopped posting on the Instagram account on January 1, and the latest collection on Fenty.com dates back to November 2020: nail-painted footwear in collaboration with one of Rihanna’s favorite code designers, Amina Muaddi. It is understood that the e-commerce site – the main distribution channel for Fenty fashions – will be dark in the coming weeks.
LVMH confirmed the development exclusively to WWD via a short statement which said: “Rihanna and LVMH have jointly taken the decision to put the RTW activity, based in Europe, on hold, in anticipation of better conditions.”
According to sources, a skeletal staff remains at the headquarters of Fenty in Paris to wind down the remaining operations.
Meanwhile, LVMH signals its strong faith in Rihanna and her growing Fenty product universe, and now plans to concentrate on Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin – and get involved in her successful lingerie venture.
WWD has also learned that private equity giant L Catterton, in which LVMH has a stake, led a $ 115 million Series B fundraiser to support the upcoming retail expansion of Savage x Fenty, Rihanna’s successful lingerie collection launched in 2018 with California – based TechStyle Fashion Group.
The fundraising round also received significant participation from existing investors such as Marcy Venture Partners and Avenir, along with a number of new investors, including Sunley House Capital, Advent International’s crossover fund.
“Following the completion of a fundraising round in which L Catterton has taken a stake in Savage X Fenty, LVMH and Rihanna reaffirm their ambition to focus on the growth and long-term development of the Fenty ecosystem with a focus on cosmetics, skin care and underwear,” LVMH and Rihanna added in a statement to WWD.
Late last year, Rihanna was told to look for investors to expand Savage X Fenty into assets, and run a selective process with Goldman Sachs.
Rihanna is said to be “sad” about having to put her Fenty fashion house on ice.
The fashion startup came in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, which kept the megastar grounded in Los Angeles so she could be practical with Fenty Beauty and the launch of Fenty Skin in July last year, both based in California but promoted by design and development teams in Paris, production facilities in Italy. A practical type, Rihanna was known for jumping on a plane to visit major fabric suppliers and educate herself on garment manufacturing.
It is understood that Rihanna and LVMH eventually decided to “prioritize” and focus on Fenty’s high-flying US-based ecosystem, with sources describing the launch of Fenty Skin as a “home run”. They are also said to have other projects in the pipeline.
Market sources estimate that Fenty Skin achieved sales of $ 30 million in less than four months on the e-store. The brand debuted at Sephora locations this month, and is also available at Harvey Nichols and Boots in the UK
Fenty fashion houses are said to have enjoyed encouraging the sale of glasses, shoes and denim, and found some initial grip in the department stores. But the challenges of creating eight collections that are ready to be used each year and run a start-up externally, turned out to be too heavy.
The Instagram account for Fenty fashion boasted 1 million followers against 3.9 million for Savage x Fenty by Rihanna and 10.5 million for Fenty Beauty by Rihanna. Fenty Skin’s platform on Instagram boasts north of 800,000 followers.
WWD broke the news in January 2019 that Rihanna, who was already a wunderkind in color cosmetics in a partnership with LVMH, would enter the fashion arena with her own brand after a period as Puma’s creative director.
LVMH was officially announced in May of the same year. The Fenty House will be “centered on Rihanna, developed by her, and taking shape with its vision of rtw, shoes and accessories, including the commerciality and communication of the brand.”
It marked the first time LVMH – whose forte modernizes older brands such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Bulgari – had launched a fashion brand from scratch since establishing a couture house for Christian Lacroix in 1987.
The project was also uncharacteristic of a group known for lavish fashion shows and splashy advertising campaigns. While there were pop-up events in tent shops such as Bergdorf Goodman and Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées, product launches were quietly announced on Fenty fashion’s website and on social media.
Last fall, LVMH hired a new CEO who seemed ready to adjust the positioning of Rihanna’s luxury house. Bastien Renard, who worked for Nike for 19 years in Europe and the United States, succeeded Véronique Gebel, a longtime Louis Vuitton boss from her ready-to-use department who was hired for the launch. It is understood that Renard is managing the liquidation, and will take on a new assignment within LVMH.
LVMH had indicated that things were less than rosy on Fenty when it revealed the third quarter in October last year.
At Fenty Fashion, we are obviously still in a launch phase, and we need to find out exactly what is the right offer. It is not something that is easy. We started from scratch, “said CFO Jean-Jacques Guiony at the time. “We obviously have the great help from Rihanna for this, but I would say that there is still ongoing work 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 between the two and really decide what will be the core strength of the offer in the years to come. “
Rihanna Robyn Fenty holds the titles of Founder, CEO and Artistic Director of Fenty. Jean Baptiste Voisin, Strategy Director at LVMH, oversaw the launch of the luxury fashion house, whose current offering includes $ 300 hoodies to $ 900 gladiator sandals.
Most of Rihanna’s fashions, mainly sold online on Fenty.com via see-now-buy-now-drops, have skewed more to the stylish and designers end of the spectrum.
It is understood that LVMH and Rihanna have not ruled out taking a new run in a luxury mansion in the future, encouraged by the fact that it was able to attract repeat customers, mostly professional, high-quality women who buy other luxury brands .
Rihanna has shown a serious interest in and influence on fashion – along with formidable design chops and acute instincts – with her three-year period as creative director of Puma, energizing the German branded clothing with her Fenty by Puma project and it up with successful touches in beauty and underwear – the former with LVMH-controlled Kendo.
Kendo, which acts as an incubator making products that end up being sold by LVMH’s perfume chain Sephora and other outposts, signed on to Rihanna in 2016. Her Fenty Beauty products increased sales north of $ 100 million within a few weeks, and became hailed as a transforming brand.
Rihanna’s closeness to LVMH dates back to at least 2015. After attending a show for Christian Dior, one of Arnault’s most valued fashion traits, she appeared in “Secret Garden IV”, a campaign and short film shot by Steven Klein in Versailles. It presented her in Dior sunglasses, with branded bags and wearing looks from the Esprit Dior collection.
A year later, she created a series of futuristic sunglasses in collaboration with Dior as part of her brand ambassadorship.
Rihanna’s talent and beauty have made her a favorite among fashion designers around the world. Barbados natives have previously modeled for Gucci, Emporio Armani and Balmain.
She debuted in design in 2013 with the British high street brand River Island, and created a collection of clothes and accessories.
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