Hedi Slimane’s debut offerings for Celine have spawned waiting lists in stores, LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault revealed at the group’s annual shareholders meeting on Thursday. The 50-year old creative made his highly-anticipated debut at Celine in January with a collection of typical short-and-tight, rocker-inspired Slimane fare, which was met with over-arching praise for what would certainly be the cause for commercial success, and at the same time, no shortage of reviews soaked which skepticism due to the seeming lack of evolution in aesthetic compared to the nearly-identical wares he shown during his tenure at rival conglomerate Kering-owned Saint Laurent.
Less than a week prior, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s chief financial officer Jean-Jacques Guiony set a slightly more cautious – but nonetheless “extremely optimistic” – tone about Celine in a call with investors, revealing that with Slimane’s debut Spring/Summer 2019 collection just hitting stores, “it’s just the beginning of it,” and “too early” the properly gauge commercial success.
When asked by Bernstein’s luxury segment analyst Luca Solca about the state of Celine, including the “mixed reviews” he says that the financial consultancy is getting “on our end from our contacts” about Slimane’s Celine, Guiony stated that LVMH has received no such thing.
“You mentioned that you got mixed report or reviews,” Guiony told Sola, but “actually we [did not].” The CFO continued, “We had a very, very good runway show in late February, early March and we got nothing in terms of mixed review for that. All the reviews were extremely positive. So we remain extremely optimistic that as far as Celine is concerned but it’s too early to comment.”
Elsewhere under the LVMH umbrella, Guiony announced that the Louis Vuitton brand will host 100 different pop-up events this year as part of a larger plan to maintain its spot atop the luxury fashion food chain. Guiony told analysts that the brand’s temporary outposts – such as the one staged in London’s Mayfair neighborhood in October in furtherance of its plan to slowly roll out menswear director Virgil Abloh’s debut offerings – are “extremely important … because [they] enable us to be talking in a different way to our clients and add flexibility with our network.”
In his view, Giony stated that in addition to demand throughout the world, including in China, largely for the brand’s leather goods, as distinct from men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, which is “not a major business” for Vuitton, the main drivers for the Paris-based conglomerate’s marquee brand are “obviously a combination of marketing products and distribution strategies.” Pop up shops fall neatly within that realm.
With revenues of over 10 billion euros ($11.27 billion), Louis Vuitton holds the title of the world’s biggest luxury brand by sales, “with privately-owned Chanel clipping at its heels, and Kering’s star brand Gucci on a mission to overtake it,” per Reuters.