Reason 2,001 of things that are hard to do during a pandemic— sell and make luxury clothes through zoom, apparently. This morning LVMH and Rihanna announced they would be putting operations at Fenty on hold “pending better conditions.” Rihanna has been known to be a hands-on creator for the company, often flying to Europe to visit fabric suppliers and learn about garment production. In lieu of the coronavirus pandemic, the Grammy winner found herself completely disconnected from the design and development team in Paris and production sites in Italy. Within the next couple of weeks, their e-commerce website is expected to go dark and the skeleton staff in Paris will continue to fizzle out. Don’t be too sad, while the luxury house is closing it’s reported that LVMH now plans to focus solely on Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin. L Catteron, a private equity company, also just put in 5 million into expanding Savage X Fenty.
However, many have expressed their disappointment in the decision. In May 2019, when the collaboration was announced, Rihanna set a number of records. Not only was she the first woman to create an original LVMH brand but she was the first woman of color to oversee a new Maison for the luxury group. This partnership also signaled a significant shift in how luxury brands were born. Normally designers become famous from their fashion endeavors. But in this case, unlike another other, a celebrity already riddled with fame was commissioned to create a brand rather than endorse one. This shift in LVMH’s structure gave insight into the new future of of what it means to be luxury. Not to mention Rihanna brought to the Maison an influx of young, trendy, and loyal followers. Members new to the luxury world that LVMH purposefully positioned itself to appeal to. It all seemed like a new future of fashion was ahead of us.
Fenty’s debut collection in Spring/Summer 2019 was universally welcomed by the public and fellow LVMH members like Jacquemus and Dior. With eighteen looks, Rihanna presented a mix of structured silhouettes, elevated denim, and sporty accessories and footwear. Their last collection drop in November 2020 was a sellout success of stiletto pumps co-designed by Amina Muaddi. While her loyal fans kept up with the brand, for everyone else their online presence was notably a weak one. The official Fenty Instagram account with 1 million followers, hasn’t posted since January 1, 2021, an odd occurrence in today’s day and age. Fenty Beauty and Savage X Fenty’s socials, however, continue to be updated regularly. In fact, compared to the other labels under Rihanna, Fenty was notoriously known for taking a back seat. Size inclusivity a selling point for Savage X Fenty did not carry on to her luxury collections with the largest being 12/14. Advertising campaigns were also a department the Maison lacked in. With visuals and a brand identity being the main driving force in today’s fashion consumption, we can see how these elements led to a steep decline for the label.
While this might be an end of an era from a luxury standpoint, LVMH and Rihanna have not wavered on their commitment to growing the “Fenty ecosystem focusing on cosmetics, skincare, and lingerie.” So blessed we can still have the iconic Savage X Fenty runway shows. Perhaps this gives RiRi an opportunity to release that album we’ve been anticipating since 2016.END
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