LVMH has put on ice Rihanna’s fashion brand Fenty after disappointing sales, although the luxury goods company will continue to work with the pop star on cosmetics and lingerie.
The failure in ready-to-wear clothing showed the limits of expanding Fenty, which was launched in 2017 as a make-up brand tailored to women of all races and ethnicities.
New and more experimental brands even when led by a major global star have struggled during the Covid-19 pandemic as people have shifted spending to more timeless styles from established luxury names.
Rihanna has introduced the world to her business savvy in the last few years, launching her tremendous Fenty Beauty, Savage X Fenty, and Fenty Skin lines. Her ventures into these territories have proved fruitful for the 32-year-old superstar artist, who has effectively shifted her focus from music to entrepreneurialism.
One of her moves included the launch of a luxury fashion brand with famed house LVMH, but we haven’t heard much about the Fenty brand as of late. A new update from Business of Fashion reports that Fenty is closing and LVMH will move forward with a vested interest in Rihanna’s other lines.
According to BoF, the luxury brand’s high-end prices weren’t a great match for Rihanna’s core fanbase, which restricted Fenty from growing. With the news that Fenty will reportedly be shutting down, the LVMH-backed L Catterton is investing in her hit lingerie line Savage X Fenty.
A statement provided to WWD from an LVMH rep claims that the house and Rih “have jointly made the decision to put on hold the RTW activity, based in Europe, pending better conditions.” It’s unclear if they will restart the brand at a later date.
When the collaboration with Rihanna was announced in May 2019 it was hailed as a savvy bet by LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault on the potential of celebrities to draw attention and sales through their legions of followers on social media.
However, the vision did not pan out for LVMH, which has successfully cultivated mega-brands such as Louis Vuitton and Dior by taking them global but has not launched a new maison since Christian Lacroix in 1987.
A native of Barbados, the 32-year-old Robyn Rihanna Fenty rose to global stardom with her Grammy-winning single “Umbrella” in 2007. Working with LA stylist Mel Ottenberg, she also developed a following for her fun and fearless approach to dressing and for championing up-and-coming designers, which won her the Fashion Icon award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2014.
Fenty’s clothing and accessories sought to meld streetwear with a luxury patina, and featured pieces such as a corset-inspired blazer at $1,100 and an oversized faux leather hoodie for $870. Retail analysts were puzzled by the offerings that they saw as having high prices for relatively mainstream clothing that was not that differentiated from other streetwear brands.
The distribution strategy also proved wanting: Fenty apparel was sold mostly through its own website, making it difficult for consumers to discover the brand. In contrast, when Rihanna launched her Fenty beauty line, it was exclusively sold through LVMH-owned cosmetics retailer Sephora, giving it instant global visibility and bringing in a reported $100m in sales in its first 40 days.
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