The Fashion Game Has Changed: Rihanna Launches Her New Luxury Brand Under LVMH
On Friday, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton officially confirmed that the fashion line created by Rihanna became a part of the world’s largest luxury group, marking a groundbreaking moment for the fashion industry.
It marks an evolution in the celebrity-style synergy, which has progressed from one-off collaborations to longer-term deals between sports brands and stars to a celebrity creating their own original luxury brand. The move is a formal acknowledgment from the establishment that a multi-hyphenate pop star/actress/image-maker now has as much global currency, name-recognition, and influence as designers like Hedi Slimane and Nicolas Ghesquière. This means the growth in the luxury industry may no longer come just from reinventing old heritage names, but by embracing a new diverse, digital, direct communication-enabled reality.
Apart from becoming the first woman to create a brand at LVMH, Rihanna has become the first woman of colour at the top of an LVMH house, and her line will be the first new house created by the group since Christian Lacroix in 1987. When it comes to Rihanna and her entrepreneurial “first,” no one can be ashamed of losing the count. The brand joins such storied heritage brands as Dior, Givenchy, Celine and Fendi and positions Rihanna as a breakthrough designer on multiple levels.
“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 brand unveiled a logo that features a graphic representation of Fenty that resembles a Greek-styled design, as well as the name in white letters against a blue background with a reversed “N.” It will be based in Paris and include ready-to-wear, shoes and accessories, all “centered on Rihanna, developed by her, and takes shape with her vision,” according to a statement from LVMH.
“Designing a line like this with LVMH is an incredibly special moment for us,” Rihanna said in the official statement. “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.”
LVMH has been making strides in recent years to the 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 has been about the diversity of gender, race, and size from the very start. Founded in 2016 under an agreement with Puma and named Fenty x Puma, Rihanna debuted the collection at New York Fashion Week, following two seasons showcased in Paris and a comeback to the Big Apple in 2017. The latter took place at the Park Avenue Armory and 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), the singer doesn’t hold back.
Even though as a designer Rihanna has not shown a collection on the runway since 2017, last year she expanded the line to lingerie with Savage x Fenty apart from already having her cosmetics empire of the same name, launched in a 2017 partnership with LVMH.
Although the chances that the new version of Fenty will be entirely different for the old one might be minimal, it will no doubt benefit from the manufacturing and materials savoir-faire of LVMH, and we will most likely see fresh and innovative luxury take on streetwear for the multicultural community of people of all sizes.
Nothing is yet confirmed about the future showcases or store locations, apart from the official statement that the first products from the new company would be unveiled — in a few weeks. The fact that the brand now already has its own website suggests that the digital starting point. Whether the story will rewrite the playbook of luxury remains to be seen, but the first chapter is about to begin.
Images Source: Getty