Rihanna is someone who can do it all — she owns a highly successful lingerie brand, skincare and makeup line, and a music empire (that hopefully comes back to life soon). But, as it turns out, there is one thing she isn’t able to do, and that’s sell high fashion clothes during a pandemic. Her Fenty brand, a high-end designer collection launched with LVMH in 2019, is going on a hiatus. In a statement sent to Women’s Wear Daily, the groups revealed they had “jointly made the decision to put on hold the ready-to-wear activity, based in Europe, pending better conditions.”
While it sounds like the business is hitting pause at the moment, this could be the end for Rihanna’s fashion house. Going on a hiatus is never a good sign for a company as young as Fenty, and many in the industry often use it as a gentle way of putting it that the business is shutting down for good. For now, however, Rihanna remains a part of LVMH and her separate lines, Savage X Fenty and Fenty cosmetics and skincare, are still in business.
Over before it began — Even though the pandemic has shuttered plenty of high-end shops, Fenty’s pause in production is a rare loss for LVMH. As the world’s largest luxury group, LVMH owns historic powerhouses Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Celine, and has only ever attempted to build two luxury fashion houses from scratch — one of which was Fenty.
On the surface, Fenty seemed like the future of fashion. Run by a Black woman with great style and a following of millions, the brand promised LVMH an evolved business model, capable of reaching a new generation of shoppers. But with the pandemic arriving only a year after Fenty launched, the newly established brand was doomed.
As much as we hate to admit it, other factors also played into the downfall of Rihanna’s luxury label. While the singer is known for her eclectic style, it seemed she was better at choosing statement-making looks for herself than creating new ones for her followers. And prices were better suited for someone in Riri’s tax bracket, with a padded denim jacket retailing for $940 and a corseted shirtdress priced at $810. Unlike her other brands, Fenty wasn’t as accessible to fans, which perhaps contributed to its pause in production.
Fenty finances — But the possibly permanent shutdown of Fenty could lead to other business opportunities for Rihanna. With the luxury fashion company on pause, LVMH is helping to pump $115 million dollars of funding into Savage X Fenty, as noted in a press release. The investment comes from L Catterton, a firm co-founded by LVMH and Bernard Arnault’s Groupe Arnault, and several other funds.
In the last year, Savage X Fenty has experienced “explosive revenue growth of over 200 percent,” the press release read, and the “heavily subscribed” round will support the existing business as well as help planned retail expansion.
Rihanna launched the brand in 2018 and it won instant acclaim for its embrace of all genders, body types, and ethnicities — something competitor Victoria’s Secret long rejected. With Amazon Prime fashion shows featuring the likes of Bella Hadid, Paris Hilton, and actual Savage X Fenty customers, the brand has unseated popular lingerie companies, like VS, whose branding is often directed to thin white women.
The inclusivity of Savage X Fenty raised the industry standard — something that Fenty was unfortunately unable to achieve. While the luxury brand is on hold for now, it’s unclear whether the pause will become permanent. At least Rihanna fans have plenty of other, unrelated Fenty shopping opportunities to indulge in.