Rihanna’s venture into luxury fashion with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has come to an end…for now.
According to reports, Rih and LVMH have mutually agreed to put the Fenty maison on hold, less than two years after the launch.
The brand stopped posting on its Instagram account on Jan. 1, and the last collection drop on Fenty.com dates back to November 2020: nail-heeled footwear in collaboration with one of Rihanna’s favorite shoe designers, Amina Muaddi. It is understood the e-commerce site – the main distribution channel for Fenty fashions – will go dark in the next few weeks.
LVMH confirmed the development exclusively to WWD via a brief statement saying: “Rihanna and LVMH have jointly made the decision to put on hold the RTW activity, based in Europe, pending better conditions.”
According to sources, a skeleton staff remains at the Paris headquarters of Fenty fashions to wind down remaining operations.
Meanwhile, signaling its strong belief in Rihanna and her growing Fenty product universe, LVMH now plans to concentrate on Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin – and get involved in her successful lingerie venture.
WWD has also learned that private equity giant L Catterton, in which LVMH has a stake, led a $115 million Series B fundraising round to support the upcoming expansion into retail of Savage x Fenty, Rihanna’s successful lingerie collection that was launched in 2018 with California-based TechStyle Fashion Group.
The fundraising round also garnered significant participation from existing investors such as Marcy Venture Partners and Avenir, along with a number of new investors, including Sunley House Capital, Advent International’s crossover fund.
“Following the completion of a fundraising round where L Catterton has taken a stake into Savage X Fenty, LVMH and Rihanna reaffirm their ambition to concentrate on the growth and the long-term development of Fenty ecosystem focusing on cosmetics, skincare and lingerie,” LVMH and Rihanna added in a statement to WWD.
Late last year, Rihanna was said to be looking for investors to expand Savage X Fenty into activewear, running a selective process with Goldman Sachs.
Rihanna is said to be “sad” about having to put her Fenty fashion house on ice.
The fashion start-up came up against the coronavirus crisis, which kept the megastar grounded in Los Angeles, allowing her to be hands-on with Fenty Beauty and the launch last July of Fenty Skin, both based in California, but estranged from design and development teams in Paris, and production sites in Italy. A hands-on type, Rihanna was known to jump on a plane to visit important fabric suppliers and educate herself about garment production.
It is understood that Rihanna and LVMH ultimately decided to “make priorities” and focus on Fenty’s high-flying U.S.-based ecosystem, with sources describing the launch of Fenty Skin as a “home run.” They are also said to have other projects in the pipeline.
Market sources estimate Fenty Skin racked up sales of $30 million in less than four months on its e-store. The brand debuted in Sephora locations this month, and it is also available at Harvey Nichols and Boots in the U.K.
The Fenty fashion house is said to have enjoyed encouraging sales of eyewear, shoes and denim, and found some initial traction in department stores. But the challenges of creating eight ready-to-wear collections a year and running a start-up remotely proved too onerous.
The Instagram account for Fenty fashion boasted 1 million followers versus 3.9 million for Savage x Fenty by Rihanna and 10.5 million for Fenty Beauty by Rihanna. Fenty Skin’s platform on Instagram boasts north of 800,000 followers.
In order for Rih to sell us luxury fashion, Rih has to sell it. We can help but wonder what impact seeing Rih embark on a full album campaign (press, videos, performances) wearing nothing but Fenty would’ve had.