Image: Aimé Leon Dore

LVMH’s Luxury Ventures investment vehicle has taken a minority stake in budding New York-based brand Aimé Leon Dore. While the terms of the investment, which appears as though it might be the latest deal to have been brokered by Alexandre Arnault, have not been disclosed, LVMH Luxury Ventures typically targets investments ranging from €2 million to €15 million. In a statement on Tuesday, Aimé Leon Dore founder Teddy Santis stated, “LVMH’s vast network of global leaders across the industry and its rich history in growing exceptional storied brands offers a truly unique partnership opportunity to fuel the next chapter of growth for Aimé Leon Dore.”

Growth for Aimé Leon Dore – which was founded in 2014 and has since made its name by way of “sneaker collaborations with New Balance and clothes and accessories inspired by New York City itself, particularly its 1990s hip-hop scene and pick-up basketball culture,” per WWD – is slated to come in the form of new brick-and-mortar outposts, with the brand reportedly planning to open a boutique in London as early as March. At the same time, the almost 8-year-old brand appears to be eyeing endeavors in the metaverse, recently filing trademark applications for registration for Aimé Leon Dore and Café Leon Dore for use in connection with virtual goods and services. 

The deal between LVMH Luxury Venture and ALD is noteworthy for at least a couple of reasons: Primarily, it further points to the prowess and potential deal-making power of the younger Mr. Arnault, who is currently in the role of EVP of Product and Communications at Tiffany & Co., and who has had a hand in a number of LVMH transactions in recent years. Beyond that, LVMH’s interest in Aimé Leon Dore appears to be a nod to the influence that a number of relatively young American brands currently enjoy in the market in a way that has not been seen since maybe Ralph Lauren and co. were getting their start several decades ago.

As for LVMH’s investment arm, itself, it was rolled out by LVMH in 2017 with the aim of buying stakes in “luxury companies with sales of between 2 million and 5 million euros, and a high-growth potential.” Spearheaded by Julie Bercovy, who previously served as co-head of LVMH’s M&A department, the Luxury Ventures arm has had its focus, in large part, on the U.S. market from the outset. For instance, it entered into a “partnership” (financial details of the transaction were not disclosed) with New York-based consignment sneaker company Stadium Goods back in February 2018, ultimately off-loading its stake in the company a year later as part of a $250 million acquisition by Farfetch.

It has since taken stakes in New York-based fashion brand Gabriela Hearst, Los Angeles-based lifestyle brand Mad Happy, and New York-based watch media and e-commerce platform Hodkinee, turnkey social selling software company Replika Software, which is based between New York and Paris, and Los-Angeles-based clean skincare brand Versed.