In arguably her biggest power move yet, Rihanna is reportedly in talks with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, parent company to Christian Dior, Fendi and Givenchy, to launch a fashion house under her own name, according to FN’s sister publication, WWD.
If confirmed, it would become the first fashion brand launched from inception by industry magnate Bernard Arnault since Christian Lacroix in 1987, and Rihanna would own the title as the first female designer of color at what is widely considered the largest luxury group in the world.
Citing multiple sources, WWD added that LVMH has already handpicked a number of employees from brands like Louis Vuitton and Celine to work on the project with Rihanna and some of her top associates. (Details about the launch and its timing remain unknown.)
With news of a potential sartorial venture, the question of whether RiRi’s fashion house will achieve success has inevitably surfaced. Historically, it might appear that celebrity-backed luxury fashion labels don’t necessary live up to their A-list names — partly because their target markets might not be able to afford their products’ high price points.
According to a survey conducted by consumer intelligence research platform CivicScience, the income levels of Rihanna’s fans aged 18 to 34 skew lower, with 40 percent reporting incomes under $50,000. However, more than a quarter of respondents aged 35 years old and up take home $100,000 or more. (Filtered with data from the last three years, the survey interpreted results from 18 percent of respondents — those who shared that they were fans of the artist — out of a large sample size of approximately 32,500 respondents.)
“The currently robust designer business, especially in footwear and handbags, suggests that consumers will stretch for what they deem as luxury,” explained Beth Goldstein, executive director and industry analyst for accessories and footwear at The NPD Group Inc., who passed along the study. “And the meaning of luxury has changed — it can be tied to athleisure, streetwear, even more moderately priced startup brands because they are cool and functional. It’s more about the brand’s story than the price.”
Additionally, the popularity of Rihanna’s lingerie collection and cosmetics line are a positive indicator. Last September, the megastar debuted Savage x Fenty at New York Fashion Week to much acclaim, while her Fenty Beauty brand has amassed about 6.3 million Instagram followers and was recognized as one of Time magazine’s best inventions of 2017.
Rihanna has also earned her place among the industry’s finest. She was named Fashion Icon of the Year at the CFDA Awards in 2014, signed a deal with Puma later that year to become its creative director, crowned with the Shoe of the Year honor at the 2016 FN Achievement Awards and most recently made best-dressed headlines at the 2018 Met Gala.
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