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.
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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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