Rihanna x LVMH: a Sign of the Times
Artist, style icon, and businesswoman Robyn Rihanna Fenty is making more unprecedented waves as luxury group LVMH has announced the debut of Fenty Maison. The collab marks LVMH’s first new house since 1987, LVMH’s first woman-founded label, and a seismic shift in the fashion industry as a whole.
For as long as celebrity culture has existed, stars have been utilized by brands to connect with buyers. The 21st century has seen celebrities breaking from that model, realizing and reclaiming the power of their followings and taking ownership of their images as brands. Brands like the Simmons’ Baby Phat, Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B., and Beyoncé’s Ivy Park have all taken in hundreds of millions of dollars. The Kardashians in particular have revolutionized the place of the celebrity in business, forcing brands to keep up with them rather than the other way around. The often discussed “social media culture” is certainly one of the catalysts of the new status quo, as it allows celebrities to directly impact their followers and mobilize them as consumers.
Fenty will include accessories such as sunglasses and leather sandals to complement corseted denim jackets, and suits. Images via
The crucial difference between Fenty and the previously mentioned brands is the involvement of LVMH, the conglomerate behind some of the world’s leading heritage labels including Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Givenchy, and Dior. Based in Paris, Fenty will debut with a pre-existing cultural cache rarely afforded to celebrity-led labels. LVMH’s investment in a celebrity-owned label shows both its confidence in Rihanna’s business savvy and creativity and a sharp eye for the economic clout that influencers carry. Luxury is going the way of most other facets of the fashion industry, as the power of following and endorsement is rapidly overtaking the historical prestige of a brand.
Rihanna has proven herself to be a successful entrepreneur, as her Fenty Beauty and Savage x Fenty collections have been widely acclaimed. She’s savvily reshaping ideas of beauty via her emphasis on size and shade inclusivity, and challenging competitors to keep up. In the midst of a callout culture that keeps venerable companies on their toes, true corporate diversity is crucial. Brands can be sent to the doghouse over problematic behavior in the time it takes to compose a tweet or post a screenshot (see: Dolce and Gabbana). Rihanna’s #blackgirlmagic and international star power makes for an alluring brand ambassador, but LVMH is cornering the market on authenticity—and proving the tangible value of the 21st century superstar—by endorsing her in a position of power, rather than simply a pretty face. In an era where luxury market is heavily promoted and sustained by hip-hop culture’s love of materialistic decadence and prestige, it’s high time the producers of said culture reap the benefits.
Feature image via.