One of the buzziest celebrity launches of the decade seems to have met its demise. On Wednesday, a spokesperson from LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) confirmed that the international conglomerate and Rihanna have agreed to cease operations of Fenty Maison, the Paris-based luxury fashion venture she launched in 2019 and the first to be launched by LVMH in two decades, according to Business of Fashion.
“Emboldened by the runaway success of the group’s partnership with Rihanna on her Fenty makeup line, which brought in around half a [billion] dollars in sales in its first year, LVMH had positioned the project as a long-term initiative,” BoF reported. “But the brand’s $300 sunglasses and $950 denim coats have not had the same broad relevance as the pop singer’s $35 matte foundation.”
No doubt the onset of a global pandemic and ensuing economic crisis further impeded the line’s evolution, as without either places to go or discretionary funds, many have been increasingly discriminating about luxury purchases (and in many cases, have turned to the resale market to get their fix). According to BoF, even ahead of the launch of her luxury line, its potentially prohibitive price point was not lost on Rihanna, who reportedly “expressed concern that the label’s high prices could alienate her sprawling fan base, sources close to the project said.” BoF additionally reported that LVMH actually priced Fenty’s offering at a lower markup than its other luxury ready-to-wear labels, though clearly not enough to balance the brand’s celebrity cachet with accessibility.
Winning an “Urban Luxe Award” at the 2019 British Fashion Awards apparently did little to boost the brand, nor did installing a new managing director, Bastien Renard (formerly of Nike), last fall. In fact, Fenty Maison has proven to be the sole non-hitmaker within Rihanna’s growing empire, which includes the thriving Fenty Beauty (which expanded into skincare in 2020), and the highly lauded and largely subscription-based Savage x Fenty, which has found creative new ways to increase its fanbase amid the ongoing pandemic.
Those brands will likely continue to thrive, as LVMH’s spokesperson confirms that the conglomerate remains invested in the “Fenty ecosystem”—with an ongoing focus on developing the remaining entities. Additionally, more investment will be put into Savage x Fenty, courtesy of the LVMH-backed private equity firm L Catterton. This new infusion will potentially satisfy a $100 million quest by the lingerie brand “to expand into new categories.”
That said, we shouldn’t rule out a post-pandemic reincarnation of Rihanna’s clothing line, as the bad gal is nothing if not a master at reinvention. LVMH suggested as much to BoF, framing the label’s closing as “pending better conditions.”
Corrected: Thursday, February 11, at 11:30 a.m., ET: An earlier version of this article quoted Business of Fashion as stating that Fenty Beauty’s first-year sales were “around half a million dollars.” According to prior reporting from BoF and others, that revenue was closer to half a billion dollars; this article has been amended to reflect that correction.