For my readers who are extremely well-versed in the fashion industry, this post will be old news for you. But for those of you who aren’t, I thought I’d clarify a little about the big conglomerates, particularly since there has been a lot in the press recently about LVMH’s sneaky acquisition of 17% of Hermès stocks.
Let’s get started on some of the big names…
LVMH stands for Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy. They are the largest luxury goods conglomerate and in 2009 they made over 17 billion euros in sales. The largest shareholder is Groupe Arnault (Bernard Arnault’s family holding company) but here is where things get confusing…Christian Dior (owned by Groupe Arnault) and owns over 40% of LVMH. What does this mean for Christian Dior? That they get to have more fun, since they don’t have LVMH’s financial people telling them they can’t hold extravagant runway shows and blow extraordinary amounts of money on things. Anyway, LVMH pretty much owns the luxury world, and now they are trying to get their hands on Hermès, which the Hermès family is not very happy about.
Anyway, here are the fashion and beauty brands that LVMH owns: Louis Vuitton, Loewe, Céline, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Fendi, Donna Karan, Emilio Pucci, TAG Heuer, De Beers, Christian Dior perfumes, Benefit Cosmetics, Acqua di Parma, Guerlain, Make Up For Ever, and more! Plus they own Sephora, Le Bon Marché (my fave Paris department store) and tons of fancy wine, champagne, and liquor brands. They have also recently acquired stocks in Edun, the eco fashion brand.
PPR is another one of the big conglomerates, who own the Gucci Group. (PPR also owns FNAC and Conforama, which are big media/grocery stores in France, plus a bunch of other big box style stores.) Their CEO, Francois-Henri Pinault, is married to Salma Hayek. Slightly jealous of the clothes she has access to… Gucci Group owns Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Sergio Rossi, and Boucheron. PPR also owns Puma, which in turn owns Tretorn.
Richemont, a Swiss group, is the third of the major luxury conglomerates. They own brands such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Lancel, Montblanc, Chloé, Shanghai Tang, Azzedine Alaia, and their most recent acquisition, Net A Porter may have ruffled some feathers. Net A Porter is the most successful online luxury retailer in the world, and they sell a lot of the brands owned by LVMH and PPR, however Richemont now has control over the brand.
Here are some of the other big luxury brands….
Chanel S A, which is privately owned by the Wertheimer family, owns Chanel, Eres, and seven ateliers who specialize in haute couture techniques. These include A. Michel et Cie (a hat maker), Les Broderies Lesage (one of the most famous embroiderers in the world), Lemarie (who makes feathers and flowers), and Desrue (a company that makes luxury buttons.) Chanel explained that their purchase of the ateliers was to ensure that the ateliers and techniques do not disappear (for example, a lot of embroidery is being done in India now, rather than France.) I applaud them for this move, as I have worked with some of these ateliers when I was at Sonia Rykiel (who is privately owned, by the way) and their skills are phenomenal. However, some of the other fashion houses criticized their move, saying they wanted to make sure that Chanel was always number one priority when it came to catwalk season and all the ateliers were crazy busy making flowers and feathers for all the big couture houses.
The Aeffe Group is an Italian manufacturing and distribution company who owns Alberta Ferretti, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti, Moschino, Moschino Cheap and Chic, and Pollini. They also own some Jean Paul Gaultier licenses.
France Luxury Group owns some of the old school couture houses, like Worth, Jean-Louis Scherrer, and Jacques Fath.
Moving on to slightly lower end brands….
A few other interesting points:
This list is by no means exhaustive and I welcome any further information on the subject. Some of this stuff was quite complicated to research, and I am not sure how recent all of my sources are. But yes, the list is quite surprising, isn’t it? This is why it is hard to make it as a small brand these days, as most big fashion companies have the backing of giant conglomerates or groups, which gives them a lot of security, resources, and power.
Read more Fashion 101′s
Fashion 101: Why Luxury is Expensive – The Tiffany Yellow Diamond
Fashion 101: The Fashion Supply Chain
Fashion 101: Why Luxury is Expensive – Le Carré d’Hermès
Fashion 101: Copyright Laws in Fashion
Fashion 101: Designers with Two Jobs