LVMH Takes Minority Position In Stella MCCartney | Makes Stella Sustainability Adviser To Arnault

Stella McCartney at her fall 2019 women’s show in Paris.CreditStephane Mahe/Reuters

Stella McCartney at her fall 2019 women’s show in Paris.CreditStephane Mahe/Reuters

Stella McCartney is making front page news with the announcement that the designer, who abandoned her relationship with Kerring in 2018, has now joined forces with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury group.

McCartney will remain in her role as her brand’s creative director and also as majority stockholder in the Stella McCartney business. Her additional responsibilities include becoming a special adviser to Bernard Arnault, LVMH’s chairman, and also to the LVMH board, on the topic of sustainability.

The fashion industry has an enormously negative and earth-harming footprint on the environment, and no one in fashion world is better prepared to fill this role of LVMH adviser on sustainability than Stella McCartney.

The addition of Stella McCartney’s voice and brand to the LVMH creative and leadership stable underscores the company’s commitment to gender equity. Since 2017, LVMH has named Maria Grazia Chiuri to head Dior and Claire Waight Keller to lead Givenchy. Arnaut has taken a minority position in the also sustainability-focused Gabriela Hearst, while creating a blockbuster disruption of the entire luxury industry with the creation of a new fashion house Fenty, created with Rihanna.

In talking about her new partnership, Stella McCartney said that since ending her partnership with LVMH rival Kerring, she had been pursued by many potential partners and investors wanting to help expand her business.

In the end, McCartney made a seemingly wise decision, one that gives her an opportunity to have heavy influence on issues that matter to her a great deal, while tapping into funding and a professional contacts base that will give her enormous flexibility. The importance of Stella’s access to Arnault and the LVMH board of directors can’t be understated.

“The chance to realize and accelerate the full potential of the brand alongside Mr. Arnault and as part of the LVMH family, while still holding the majority ownership in the business, was an opportunity that hugely excited me,” she said.

Eastern & Oriental Express Becomes 'Tiger Express' In Bangkok To Singapore Trip For Tigers

The six-day, five-night ‘Tiger Express’ – a special trip organised aboard Belmond’s luxury train, the Eastern & Oriental Express – will pass through the tiger’s traditional habitat as it travels from Bangkok to Singapore and help to raise awareness about endangered big cats.

The six-day, five-night ‘Tiger Express’ – a special trip organised aboard Belmond’s luxury train, the Eastern & Oriental Express – will pass through the tiger’s traditional habitat as it travels from Bangkok to Singapore and help to raise awareness about endangered big cats.

LVMH + Sustainability

Reporting on the LVMH acquisition of Belmond Hotels last December, we rather tongue-in-cheek wondered if Bernard Arnault will now save the elephants. Conservation and sustainability priorities are increasingly a high priority for younger customers. Within this context, it seems that saving elephants and other big game is a perfect initiative for the LVMH group, as they expand their luxury hotel business. Bernard Arnault himself has noted the luxury consumers move towards experiences and not more possessions.

On September 7 of this year, hotel and leisure company Belmond and its Eastern & Oriental Express will embark on a luxurious six-day, five-night train trip from Bangkok to Singapore. Called the ‘Tiger Express’, the excursion has teamed up with the global tiger conservation charity initiative, ‘Save Wild Tigers, to “raise awareness about the plight of the world’s last remaining wild tigers, writes Friday’s The South China Morning Post.

Three nights during the six-day train journey will be spent on board Belmond’s luxurious ‘Tiger Express’.

Three nights during the six-day train journey will be spent on board Belmond’s luxurious ‘Tiger Express’.

The endangered big cats could be extinct within a decade, writes ‘Tiger Express’

The landing page of Save Wild Tigers features the trip. 20% of the ticket price will be donated to Save Wild Tigers, and guests will enjoy the company of each other, artists, and unnamed ambassadors from Save Wild Tigers.

Only 3,800 tigers remain in the wild worldwide, with as few as 400 in Thailand and Malaysia, Belmond says. If numbers continue to decline at their current rate, wild tigers will be extinct within the decade.

“With potentially as few as 10 years left to save this iconic species from extinction, the clock really is ticking,” says Simon Clinton, founder of Save Wild Tigers. This is not the first collaboration between Belmond and Save Wild Tigers. They first teamed up in 2014 to launch the ‘Tiger Express’.

Prices start from £3,724 (US$4,865) per person, based on two people sharing a twin cabin, which includes all meals, one night’s accommodation each at Siam Bangkok and Raffles Singapore, and three nights on board the train, plus the two excursions and transfers to and from the train. Read more information about the trip and bookings at Belmond.com.


Bernared Arnault’s Wealth Is Growing At An Astonishing Rate

Bernard Arnault recently became the richest person in Europe – overtaking Warren Buffett to become the third-richest person in the world, after Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, according to the latest Bloomberg Billionaires Index, published on March 6, 2019. Bloomberg estimates Arnault’s wealth at $83.1 billion, making him the richest person in the fashion industry.

In January 2019, Bernard Arnault made US$4.3 billion in a single day after LVMH shares surged 6.9 per cent.

Arnault is getting richer at an astonishing rate, writes The South China Morning Post in a March review of the Frenchman’s finances. In January 2019, Bernard Arnault made US$4.3 billion in a single day after LVMH shares surged 6.9 per cent. Between the end of January and February 27, he added another US$3.9 billion to his fortune.

Arnault has built LVMH into a triumphant capitalist success story, while described by the press as “ruthless,” “able to exploit,” “famously litigious,” and “a wolf in cashmere clothing.” 

To address these headlines, Antoine Arnault, Bernard Arnault’s son from his first marriage, assumed additional new LVMH responsibilities in June, 2018 as head of the group's image and communication strategy. According to Bloomberg, Arnault “stressed the importance of the role, saying his son will be in charge of managing the ‘growing attention’ in the company from the media and public, and pointing to social media as an area of particular focus.”

LVMH's awareness of the "growing attention from the media, observers, public authorities, as well as the general public,” and specifically, the "increased exposure" – coupled with a different vision of corporate responsibilities among Arnault’s five children — suggests that the group recognizes the need to craft its reputation more carefully than it has in the past

Within this context, it seems that saving tigers, elephants and other big game is a perfect initiative for the LVMH group, as they expand their luxury hotel business. Bernard Arnault himself has noted that luxury consumers are moving towards experiences and not more possessions. .

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Rihanna and LVMH Team UP With Potential To Create Dynamic, People-Centric, Global Luxury Brand

Rihanna at the Costume Institute Gala last year.CreditCreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

Rihanna at the Costume Institute Gala last year.CreditCreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

Vanessa Friedman asks for The New York Times: “Is Rihanna the Coco Chanel of the 21st century?” Can the multi-hyphenate talent, without an ounce of fashion training, launch a new powerhouse luxury brand?

Bernard Arnault, chief executive of LVMH, thinks so and is in serious talks with Rihanna about launching a new global Fenty brand. Friedman writes that execs at Fenty Beauty and LVMH corporate were astonished over the runaway success of Fenty Beauty, launched in a diverse array of skin tones and with a fan base of 6.3 million Instagram followers. Fenty Beauty was named one of TIME magazine’s 25 Best Inventions of 2017.

Robyn Rihanna Fenty IS a real, live heritage brand with a global reach. No ‘authentic’ story must be created around her image. Rihanna IS the story and she has created it — not with mood boards on Madison Avenues — but with her entire life.

Rihanna comes to the world of luxury brands having made them her canvas for a decade. Luxury fashion has brought her far beyond the limits of the music world. Styled by Mel Ottenberg since 2011, Rihanna has aligned herself with emerging designers and luxury brands like Lanvin and Ginvenchy. Rather than working with a luxury house exclusively, she used these same brands to suit her purposes.

In 2014, she was named fashion icon of the year at the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards, where she appeared in a sheer crystal-spangled Adam Selman dress and matching cap, a white fur wrap strategically draped around her body, setting off a so-called naked trend in red carpet dressing. The next year, at the Met Gala, she wore a giant yellow cape from the Chinese designer Guo Pei, and enshrined her skill at making an entrance.

Not mentioned in Friedman’s piece, but a key component in the forthcoming Rihanna/LVMH alliance is the social conscience of the new luxury brand. Here there is an opportunity to set a very high bar, and all my instincts say that Rihanna and Arnault understand well global politics and human suffering.

With governments in chaos worldwide, but Rihanna anchored deeply in the lives of everyday people, I fully expect a new paradigm to emerge with a Rihanna-led Fenty house that is an activist house, too. Rihanna is deeply embedded in the obligations that women leaders have assumed in creating real change in the world.

If LVMH is equally courageous and up to the task, we might see a new luxury brand DNA that moves beyond the rarified and exclusive vision of Coco Chanel to one that touches people in big and small ways worldwide. If anyone can jumpstart this new 21st century, luxury brand vision, it’s the combined prowess of Rihanna and LVMH’s Bernard Arnault.