>> Rumor: LVMH May Sell DKNY, Make Bid On Hermes —Word is that LVMH is shopping around DKNY, with no plans to sell Donna Karan Collection, because it wants to focus on high-end luxury brands with a strong international recognition; DKNY's only response was to state that long-term company policy is to not comment on rumors. European private investment firms are also buzzing that in addition to dropping DKNY, LVMH may be selling Moet-Hennessy to make a grab for Hermes. [Fashionista, DKNY Twitter]
>> In the wake of the 23 percent decline in first-half profits it announced Monday, LVMH plans to postpone or suspend marketing and promotions for its brands that failed to be top performers, according to CFO Jean-Jacques Guiony.
He did not specify which brands would receive the "selective investments" still being made, but its wines, spirits, watches, and jewelry businesses were hurt in the past few months and seem like contenders for those being passed over. This new withholding strategy is part of LVMH's cost containment plan for the remainder of 2009.
>> Bernard Arnault, Francois Pinault Are Playing Nice, Still Rich —With the lapse of almost a decade since the fight over Gucci, LVMH's Bernard Arnault and PPR's Francois Pinault are experiencing a detente, symbolized by their willingness to appear on the cover of French business magazine Challenges together this week. The accompanying story credits Arnault's wife, Helene, with the warming of feelings when she embraced Pinault's wife Maryvonne at an event last November. Since, the Arnaults invited the Pinaults to dinner on May 26. The magazine also tabulates France's largest fortunes, with Arnault (14.58 billion euros) in second, the Hermes family (7.68bn euros) in fourth, Pinault (4.95bn euros) in sixth, and Alain Wertheimer and family, owner of Chanel, (3.5bn euros) in tenth. [WWD]
Christian Lacroix May Have Just Shown His Last Couture Show for Fall 2009; Will He Go Back Into LVMH Fold?
>> Last Friday, employees at Christian Lacroix were informed the the workforce would be cut from 124 to 12, and the house would close at the end of July — effectively reducing it to a licensing operation — unless a buyer could be found. Today at the Arts Decoratifs, Lacroix showed what may be his last couture collection to just over 200 guests, a set of 24 looks entirely privately financed, which the designer described as: "A collection which is finished, but which was not completed under the usual conditions. It is like a sketch, a drawing for a painting . . . the classic repertory of the house, what is left, the hard disk."
The mood was sober, but staid: badges declaring "Christian Lacroix Forever" were handed out and a sign reading similar was held across the runway. There were tears aplenty as the designer took his walk with bride Vlada Roslyakova, and no red carnations were on the seats, ready to toss in the finale as has been the custom at Lacroix's couture shows since he started in 1987. But he did receive a standing ovation, and Lacroix is not ready to give up: "What really churns my stomach is wondering what is going to become of the workrooms and, for the moment, none of the solutions I am looking at would save the couture side of the business."
Some are wondering if he may renew his relationship with LVMH — under whom he originally launched his label in 1987. Just an hour after his own show closed, he was spotted backstage and front row at the LVMH-supported Givenchy show, where he posed for photos with Delphine Arnault. The Times UK noted that Lacroix, "beaming in the front row at Givenchy doesn't look like a man whose label is finished."
>> THE ZEITGEIST —Cathy Horyn just posted an insightful state of the union-type speech that she made a few nights ago, focusing on fashion and some of the economic challenges facing the industry. Among the highlights: "'Green fashion' will become more and more important, and young consumers in particular will expect to see innovation and experimentation in this area . . . I am somewhat surprised that a big luxury group has not had the foresight to create a separate eco-brand of high-quality garments, with a casual yet sophisticated aesthetic. We’ve seen a number of niche labels, but not one that draws on the brand power and advertising reach of a luxury group." Perhaps that is precisely what LVMH has in mind for new investment Edun? [On the Runway]
>> For months, Bernard Arnault has been hovering around an unnamed ethical fashion brand — many guessed Bono and his wife Ali Hewson's label Edun, but she denied it outright back in March.
Turns out it was all a ruse — at the LVMH annual shareholder's meeting Thursday morning, Arnault said the company will announce "very soon" that it has taken an "important" stake in the eco-luxury label — LVMH is expected to remain a minority shareholder, but their stake is to be nearly 50 percent. As part of the deal, LVMH will play a "very active role" in the development of Edun as a brand, including management of the company as well as granting access to its marketing and production resources.
The Edun investment marks the first foray by a major fashion conglomerate into the ethical fashion market.
LVMH is said to be taking a stake in Edun, the eco label launched by Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson.
Sir Phillip Green wants to open two more Topshops in Manhattan and is currently hunting for the real estate.
Trish Goff modeled Erdem's Resort collection which called up the designer's abstract florals and embroideries.
Suzy Menkes taught Academy of Art University students how to crash fashion shows.
>> INSIDER WIRE —Speaking of ethical fashion, Ali Hewson addressed rumors about LVMH taking a financial interest in Edun last night — "Everyone keeps asking us that. I wish it were true." Which begs the question: Who else would Bernard Arnault have been hinting at? Edun seems to fit the bill perfectly . . . [Style File]
>> ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL —Little by little, Rodarte is making a foray into the advertising world — first with an ad in the Winter edition of Anthem, and now for Spring 2009 in the latest issue of V Magazine (#58), at left. Are Laura and Kate Mulleavy considering going more commercial? If they're receiving LVMH mentoring like Gareth Pugh, they just might be — Gareth has been working on making his pieces more wearable recently. [Fashion Copious, Fashion Copious]