;
Image: TFL

With its latest acquisition, which sees it snap up Belmond Ltd., owner of New York’s ‘21’ Club and high-end resorts around the world, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton “is betting $2.6 billion that consumers who spend $1,000 on a Louis Vuitton bag will splash out for a $2,000-a-night hotel on Italy’s Amalfi Coast,” per Bloomberg. The deal, which was announced late last week, “is LVMH’s largest since taking full control of Christian Dior for more than $7 billion last year and pushes the company further into services amid rising concern about the sustainability of the Chinese demand that’s driven fashion industry growth.” It is also likely to be the Paris-based luxury conglomerates last buy of 2018.

From efforts to build out newly-acquired brands (such as Rimowa) and ventures (i.e. its 1-year old multi-brand 24 Sèvres website) to its PR-specific coups and fails, here are some developments and insights from 2018 specific to LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate and the parent to an arsenal of fashion/luxury brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Celine, Givenchy, Rimowa, and Loewe …

1. How Does LVMH Create Luxury Power Players? Rimowa Provides Some Clues. From overhauls of its existing brick-and-mortar stores and a revamp of its branding to buzzy collaborations with the likes of Supreme and Virgil Abloh, Rimowa has arguably never been as relevant for millennial consumers as it is right now. 

2. LVMH Has Been Working to Revamp its Image After Decades of “Ruthless Corporate Raids.” Antoine Arnault, the son of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton scion Bernard Arnault, is taking on a new role: head of the group’s image and communication. It is hardly a secret for LVMH aficionados that the senior-most Arnault has run LVMH in a particular way, one that has seen him described by the press as “ruthless,” “able to exploit,” “famously litigious,” and “a wolf in cashmere clothing.” Now, in the age of increasing corporate transparency, it is time for LVMH to more carefully curate its image.

3. Paris Fashion Week’s Front Rows Speak to Fashion’s Complicated Stance on #MeToo. With an alleged serial rapist in the front row of Louis Vuitton’s menswear show and a man under investigation (in two countries) for sexual assault in attendance at Dior Homme, LVMH dropped the ball on more than one occasion this year in terms of the #MeToo movement. 

4. LVMH is Opening its Ateliers in an Exercise in Artistry and Marketing. Again this year, LVMH Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton opened its doors, offering consumers the chance to go behind the scenes at some of the ateliers of its portfolio of luxury labels. The global affair was an effort in transparency and – undeniably – an elaborate marketing opportunity for LVMH. It also stood in stark contrast to LVMH’s unwillingness to be open about some of its more questionable moves of the year.

5. LVMH is the First French Luxury Entity to Join the Nation’s Gender Equality Task Force. Whether it be at the helm of fashion’s most established brands or on the boards of the industry’s most esteemed houses, women are sorely out-numbered by men. LVMH vowed to take steps to close the gap. Just over 10 years after the Paris-based conglomerate, which owns Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Celine, Christian Dior, and Loewe, among other fashion and non-fashion brands, launched EllesVMH, a gender diversity-centric initiative, it announced that it would join the French task force on gender equality.

6. With $49 Billion in Revenue, Christian Dior SA is the World’s Largest Fashion Group. Christian Dior SA is the world’s largest fashion group, according to Forbes’ Global 2000 list. With $49 billion in revenue for 2017, the annual list of “the world’s biggest and most powerful public companies, as measured by a composite score of revenues, profits, assets and market value” puts Christian Dior SA, the company that owns 46 percent of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (and that is distinct from the Dior Couture brand which it owns), in the number 150 position, following the likes of financial institutions, big-pharma companies, consumer goods behemoths like P&G and Apple, and Amazon, of course.

7. Can LVMH Get Consumers to Shell Out Tens-of-Thousands of Dollars Online? LVMH has not, despite the wide range of brands under its umbrella, necessarily tested to see just how much money consumers are willing to spend online. With increasing efforts by its brands to adopt e-commerce capabilities and with the launch of its multi-brand 24 Sèvres site, LVMH is doing just that.

8. With Changes at Vuitton, Céline, Berluti & Dior, LVMH Completes Talent Revamp. Widespread change is afoot at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Last year, the Paris-based conglomerate embarked upon what has been coined the most momentous management reshuffle in five years. Sidney Toledano, the long-serving chairman and chief executive of Christian Dior, stepped down to take up shop as the executive chairman of the LVMH Fashion Group, while Kim Jones, Hedi Slimane, Kris Van Assch, Haider Ackermann, and Virgil Abloh made big moves, as well.

9. RETRO READ: The Behind-the-Scenes Battle to Build One of the World’s Most Magnificent Museums. Five years after Bernard Arnault met Frank Gehry, he had a proposal for him. Help me build one of the world’s most noteworthy contemporary-art museums-cum-cultural centers. It would take eight years, 3,000 laborers, a reported $143 million-plus, a partnership between one of the world’s most famous architects and one of its richest men, and the passage of a special national French law for that cultural epicenter to come into fruition.

10. LVMH: A Timeline Behind the Building of the World’s Most Valuable Luxury Goods Conglomerate.  Here is a look at the fashion-focused timeline behind the building of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, the French multinational luxury goods conglomerate, that is parent to brand ranging from Louis Vuitton, of course, and Christian Dior to Loewe, Givenchy, and Celine.