Stella McCartney Inks Deal With LVMH After Splitting With Rival Kering

Stella McCartney, who confirmed her split from Kering last year, is packing up her brand, her sustainability kudos and switching sides in a new partnership with France’s other luxury giant, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

Full details will be revealed in September, according to LVMH.

McCartney’s is the second female-run fashion house that LVMH has taken on board this year, after the owner of Louis Vuitton and Dior set up a luxury maison with singer and entrepreneur Rihanna under the Fenty label.

LVMH said Monday that Stella McCartney would continue as creative director and ambassador of her brand, while holding majority ownership.

In addition, she will hold a specific position and role on sustainability, as special adviser to LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault and the executive committee members.

Her venture with Kering was 50-50, and the two parted ways amicably last year as Kering began restructuring its portfolio.

McCartney decided she didn’t want to hand over control to Kering, preferring to seek a new partner. Given the rivalry between Kering and LVMH, few assumed McCartney would ally herself with so close a competitor.

LVMH said the goal of the partnership will be for the house of Stella McCartney to accelerate its worldwide development in terms of business and strategy, “while of course remaining faithful to its long-lasting commitment to sustainability and ethical fashion.”

The company added that LVMH and Stella McCartney “are delighted to open this new chapter together.”

Arnault said he was “extremely happy” about the new partnership.

“It is the beginning of a beautiful story together, and we are convinced of the great long-term potential of her house. A decisive factor was that she was the first to put sustainability and ethical issues on the front stage, very early on, and built her house around these constraints. It emphasizes LVMH Groups’ commitment to sustainability,” he said.

Arnault added that LVMH was the first large company in France to create a sustainability department, more than 25 years ago, “and Stella will help us further increase awareness on these important topics.”

McCartney said since she revealed her decision to take full ownership of her brand in March 2018, “there have been many approaches from various parties expressing their wish to partner and invest in the Stella McCartney [brand].”

According to sources, potential investors, ranging from private equity to trade buyers and private individuals, were buzzing around McCartney, over social media, on the school run and at private and public events from the minute she revealed the split with Kering.

“While these approaches were interesting, none could match the conversation I had with Bernard Arnault and his son, Antoine. The passion and commitment they expressed toward the Stella McCartney brand alongside their belief in the ambitions and our values as the global leader in sustainable luxury fashion was truly impressive,” she said.

McCartney said 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. Partnering with Mr. Arnault, his family and LVMH is a big step for me and my family, but also the team at Stella McCartney. The brand has achieved so much since its launch, and this new partnership with LVMH is recognition of that work, but this I feel is just the start, and I look forward to a brilliant future together.”

The closing of this partnership is subject to the usual conditions, in particular the approval of the competition authorities, LVMH said.

This story was reported by WWD and originally appeared on WWD.com.

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