When Fame and Fashion Intersect

When Fame and Fashion Intersect

Rihanna will be launching a high-end fashion label with the LVMH group

Words by Naledi Sibisi

This past weekend, Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH) announced that the French multinational luxury goods company would be launching a new luxury fashion house - creative directed by Robyn ‘Rihanna’ Fenty. The partnership with the singer and businesswoman (who has been hailed as one of the most influential artists of our time) will set the tone for the way in which the luxury market is shifting and what that means not only for the culture, but for LVMH as the leaders of the industry.

The intersection between fame and fashion has been an interesting thing to witness over the years. A good example of this phenomenon would be rapper, record producer, model, actor, music video director, A$AP Rocky – who fittingly featured Rihanna on his 2013 single ‘Fashion Killa’. His fashion evolution has been documented throughout his career linking him to luxury designers who seek out the rapper to sit front-row at their shows in high-end designer gear. Through this, A$AP Rocky has cemented himself as one of the leading fashion influencers in the world of hip hop and streetwear.

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The partnership with LVMH means that Rihanna will not only become the first woman of color at the top of an LVMH maison; but she will also be the first to produce an original brand with the conglomerate – positioning Fenty as the first new house created by the group in just over thirty decades. This move confirms that Rihanna as an artist and pop icon has as much global currency as high-end designers in the fashion industry. Furthermore, it communicates a message that ushers in a new era where the world of luxury can be influenced and defined outside of the boundaries of heritage and inheritance. “Designing a line like this with LVMH is an incredibly special moment for us. Mr. Arnault has given me a unique opportunity to develop a fashion house in the luxury sector, with no artistic limits. I couldn’t imagine a better partner both creatively and business-wise, and I’m ready for the world to see what we have built together”, she declared in a formal statement (via LVMH).

Because celebrity collaborations have often fallen into the margins of limited editions or drops, the LVMH partnership with Rihanna is a historic move by launching Fenty as a complete fashion label. Luxury Institute – cited as the most trusted luxury and premium goods consulting firms prides itself on its “expertise, deep empathy, trustworthiness and generosity”. Milton Pedraza, the president of the firm declared that this is the sort of move he would have expected from LVMH. “LVMH knows how to co-create to scale and distribute product. It is also creating a new definition of luxury which is more open and inclusive. This is the model they can potentially use with many other co-creators”. In doing so, the corporation is allowing for this new breed of entrepreneurs to encourage and influence more innovative ways to govern in rooms where they previously did not stand a chance; thus forcing more Eurocentric spaces to adapt to a more diverse and inclusive reality.

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