Not Surprised: LVMH Ends Rihanna’s FENTY Fashion House

Not Surprised: LVMH Ends Rihanna’s FENTY Fashion House

Not Surprised: LVMH Ends Rihanna’s FENTY Fashion House

I’m not surprised. This morning WWD reported that Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, an international luxury fashion and liquor conglomerate commonly known as LVMH has paused production for Rihanna’s fashion house FENTY after making its debut less than two years ago. The reporting says 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.”

Like many other industries, the fashion world has been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. While some brands have managed to stay afloat as financial markets falter others simply haven’t. I believe LVMH stopped production of the FENTY House because it wasn’t profitable. There was more money going out than coming in. And there was no indication that the ship could be turned around. From the beginning, I thought something was off with the roll-out of FENTY. 

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Not Surprised: LVMH Ends Rihanna’s FENTY Fashion House

If I recall correctly there was an announcement in Spring 2019, that was met with much fanfare as Rihanna was named the first Black woman with a European fashion house. Then there was a website. And then weeks later items were added to the website. And it was underwhelming. There were shades and block toe sandals and that was it. I also thought the design and layout of the site was lazy. It wasn’t appealing at all. As a consumer, it didn’t draw me in. There were three models in blazers, shades and that was it. That was the visual. I remember thinking that’s it? After all, this is the launch of a luxury fashion house! I expected more. As a supporter of Rihanna, I tried to keep up with the brand and the latest, but it was so sporadic. Every once in a while you’d hear about a new release from FENTY. There never seemed to be any cohesion with releases and collections. Everything looked the same. More shades, more block toe sandals…oh and oversized blazers! Yawns. I kept scrolling. It wasn’t impressive. Again I expected more.

I mean this is Rihanna we’re talking about. She does everything well, at a high level. She has impeccable taste, fashion sense. I mean there is even a saying: “anything looks good on Rihanna.” After a super successful launch of Fenty Beauty in 2017 and SAVAGE X FENTY lingerie, the superstar was on a roll! And then came the FENTY House. Everything Rihanna touched went gold. But this didn’t. Why?

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I think the launch of FENTY was simply a money grab. With so much success, influence and notoriety, the powers that be and Rihanna said yes this is a good idea, this is history, let’s do it! But let’s be honest. The core of Rihanna fans are teenagers and young adults. And while they may purchase her music, go to the tours, buy Fenty Beauty and even the bras and panties — they can’t afford $600 eyewear, or spend $1000+ on heels. So if that’s the case that means FENTY’s target audience is high fashion, luxury shoppers. People who are in the know about the industry and came name exactly what season their favorite items are from. You know F/W ’00. Those people didn’t buy into what FENTY was selling. Of course, I saw an influencer or celeb here and there showing off their FENTY wear, but the people who make up the billions of dollars in sales each year were not. I can’t blame them. Again the offerings were not innovative, unique or interesting. Nothing presented was “to-die-for” or gag-worthy. And in the luxury market with House’s like Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Celine, Valentino and countless others the competition is stiff for those one percent dollars. 

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Not Surprised: LVMH Ends Rihanna’s FENTY Fashion House

I’m not sure if this was too much for Rihanna to handle, or if she simply didn’t have the time to dedicate to the brand. [Of course, the reason a fashion house goes under is much more complicated than one person.] I mean she’s a global superstar who has her hands in so many pots, oh and did I forget to mention she’s a recording artist? That’s a lot. While Rihanna may have the Midas touch, she’s not infallible. At best this will be remembered as Rihanna charting the course of the first Black woman to lead a luxury fashion house. At worst: Another well-dressed celebrity who thought stardom translated to high fashion chops and failed. 

S.

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