LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton may be looking to add a new name to its roster of brands: a budding Milanese group that owns stakes in some of fashion’s buzziest streetwear brands. According to “market sources” cited by WWD, the world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate is eyeing New Guards Group, the niche fashion group founded in 2015 by DJ-slash-designer Marcelo Burlon, Claudio Antonioli of multi-brand boutique antonioli.eu, and fashion production and distribution mastermind Davide de Giglio.
With Virgil Abloh’s Off-White, Burlon’s own label County of Milan, Palm Angels, Heron Preston’s eponymous collection, Alanui, A Plan Application, Ben Taverniti Unravel Project, and formerly Hood by Air (which was part of the New Guards Group before founder Shayne Oliver put the label on an indefinite hold) under its umbrella, and LVMH increasingly looking to tap into millennial-centric touch-points to help boost its bottom line, New Guards Group could prove a fitting acquisition target.
The Milan-based New Guard Group, which owns varying stakes in the aforementioned brands, describes itself “as an accelerator of innovative fashion brands,” according to its LinkedIn page, noting that “while each brand’s creative process and identity is fiercely preserved, the group leverages synergies and productivities of its shared services.” Those “shared services” see its labels largely working under the same roof in the New Guards Group’s 10,000+ square foot atelier in Milan.
What – exactly – are those synergies? “It’s not just clothes,” Burlon revealed in an interview with BoF. “We all know each other and there’s support for each other. It’s like a new movement.” A movement that has “music behind it … a party scene. And we all kind of related one to each other,” he subsequently shared with Complex. “We kind of talk the same language. We’re not part of the system.”
A movement in modern streetwear would be arguably rather incomplete with Virgil Abloh, the Louis Vuitton menswear director whose label Off-White is the most well-known of the Group’s roster of brands. As noted by Highsnobiety, Abloh teamed up with Burlon after he moved on from first label, Pyrex: “Virgil would later shut the brand down, and link with New Guards Group to start Off-White.” And it is under the watch of the Group that Off-White has blossomed.
According to Vogue’s Amy Verner, “Not even 48 hours after Virgil Abloh staged his [Spring/Summer 2018] men’s collection as a vast nighttime performance enhanced by artist Jenny Holzer projecting queasy, crisis poetry on the exterior of the Pitti Palace, the walk-through of the  Resort offering took place at his Milan showroom.”
“This may sound anticlimactic,” she wrote, “and yet it was here that the founders of New Guards Group first took a leap of faith on a guy selling t-shirts that profoundly resonated with plugged-in kids (the Kanye connection didn’t hurt) and agreed to produce and distribute his higher-end fashion label.”
Meanwhile, LVMH announced early this month that it has taken a minority stake in Gabriela Hearst, the 4-year old New York-based womenswear brand, by way of its LVMH Luxury Ventures, the same startup-focused fund that partnered with sneaker consignment site Stadium Goods early last year.
It is unclear as of now such a potential deal between LVMH and the New Guards Group would pan out. So, stay tuned.