Will Rihanna’s Fenty LVMH RTW collection sell?

Rihanna debuts Fenty RTW line for LVMH

First look at Rihanna’s Fenty RTW collection for LVMH. She’s the first black woman to get her own dedicated high end line at LVMH. It’s pretty amazing considering Hedi, Phoebe and Nicolas haven’t managed to achieve that.

The collection is created with creative director Jahleel Weaver. “Angles, textures, colors – I screen-shoot them constantly, bookmark them, folder them, then text them all to Jahleel,” Rihanna told the New York Times. “Later, we have a conversation. And hopefully, then, the magic happens.” Although I love the imagery, at first look it’s not saying much that we haven’t seen already. It’s in the Loewe, J W Anderson, ‘old Celine‘ mould of exaggerates silhouettes with off-kilter details. It will be well made with good fabrications because it’s LVMH prices (from $200 for T-shirts). And it’s available up to size U.S 14 (UK 18), which is commendable.

Will it sell?

You can look at other celeb lines for comparison. The obvious one is Victoria Beckham. She has a killer team, people like the designs but we’re always hearing that it’s unprofitable. Her personal fan base can’t afford it and the fashion customer would rather buy into a ‘cooler’ brand.

For Fenty, my guess is they’ll be banking on accessories (read: bags) and perhaps a later diffusion line. I think there’s a gap for some really cool luxury streetwear-inspired bags. Maybe a vegan leather that has a sportier sensibility but with a luxury veneer, yet cheaper to produce than leather. Something that’s cool but not going to date too quickly. They need a really great bag designer for that.

A big challenge in my opinion is this line is retailing as a direct-to-consumer, ‘drop’ model. Meaning no permanent physical stores (for now) or wholesalers. Instead they have experiential ‘epemeral’ shops, I guess a bit like Glossier. That means the brand is reliant on what – social media and Rihanna’s influencer network to give the brand visibility? That seems risky.

It’s really about the long-term proposition. Will Fenty (and Rihanna) still be relevant in ten years, twenty years? When I buy into a new designer brand, that’s often what I’m asking myself. I like brands, I do subconsciously align myself with them, so I want to feel an affinity. I want a long-term relationship. It’s easy for a celeb collection to get lots of buzz and support in the first few seasons. After that it has to stand up on its own. At least Fenty has the business of LMMH backing it.

Should be interesting to watch the progress.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
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