Even Rihanna isn't pandemic-proof. LVMH, the luxury goods company that backed her Fenty fashion label is putting Rihanna on the back burner for now after sales got off to a slow start and then slowed down even more once the pandemic hit. Officially, billionaire Bernard Arnault's luxury goods conglomerate is putting a hold on Rihanna and Fenty, but not canceling her altogether. The venture between LVMH and Rihanna was launched in 2019.
The Fenty fashion label didn't have the same level of success that the Fenty cosmetics line Rihanna and LVMH launched together in 2017. Rihanna publicized her makeup line to her 91 million Instagram followers and 102 million Twitter followers, which gave her makeup line enormous exposure. Fenty cosmetics also got a boost from being one of the only brands on the market to offer a range of skin tones.
What Rihanna does differently from other makeup lines is the range of skin tones available. Fenty sells 40 different shades of foundation, where other brands offer only a handful. The line also sells highlighters, bronzers, blush, and lip glosses. The brand did $100 million in revenue in its first two months. In 2018 the line generated $570 million. She owns 15% of the partnership. More recently, Fenty Beauty launched a skincare line, which is selling well. She launched Fenty Beauty in the fall of 2017 in collaboration with LVMH. Fenty Beauty is sold at Sephora (which is also owned by LVMH) as well as on its own website and each release sells out pretty quickly. Rihanna's partnership with LVMH for Fenty Beauty was worth $10 million initially.
In May 2019, Rihanna announced another partnership with LVMH, Fenty, a fashion line. Fenty launched as a pop-up store in Paris on May 22, 2019, and then worldwide on May 29, 2019, online. Fenty sells high-end clothing, footwear, jewelry, and accessories. She is the first woman and the first of color to launch a new brand with the luxury fashion group. Fenty is also the first fashion brand that LVMH has launched since 1987.
Fenty's fashion line may not have been ready to play ball with the other big names in LVMH's portfolio. LVMH owns Louis Vuitton, Celine, Christian Dior, Bulgari, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, and a slew of other luxury brands. Those brands are well known for their coveted, high-end handbags and accessories, which have a higher price tag than cosmetics do. LVMH also owns the pricey champagne brands Moet & Chandon and Dom Perignon. Additionally, new brands do not have the cachet of decades (if not centuries) of history that enable older luxury brands to convince customers to spend thousands of dollars on a purchase.
LVMH and its billionaire CEO Bernard Arnault still want to be in business with Rihanna. LVMH recently bought a stake in Savage X Fenty, the lingerie brand Rihanna launched in 2018 with TechStyle Fashion Group, a Los Angeles-based online fashion company. Like her cosmetics line, Rihanna wanted the line to be inclusive so, like her makeup, her lingerie comes in a variety of colors to match all skin tones. It also comes in a range of sizes that goes beyond the standard size 2 to 12. She's used plus-sized and transgendered models in her runway shows and ad campaigns, which her fans absolutely love. LVMH's stake in Savage X Fenty comes through Arnault's private-equity fund L Catteron.