French Press | Le Monde Reports on LVMH’s Secret Hermès Plan, São Paulo’s Fiercely Competitive Luxury Malls, Sports and Lifestyle Brands

BoF distills recent fashion stories from the French media.

Bernard Arnault | Source: Pursuitist

Le plan très secret de LVMH pour entrer chez Hermès (Le Monde)

“We did not expect to become Hermès shareholders. We made a financial investment which turned out in a way we did not expect,” announced Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH, before the group’s board on April 18th. But according to a piece published yesterday in the French daily Le Monde, the reality may have been quite different. For nearly ten years, the world’s leading luxury group patiently and secretly pursued a plan to control Hermès, according to a 115-page report compiled by the AMF, a French market authority, says Le Monde journalist Nicole Vulser, who obtained a copy of the report. According to the document, which “can sometimes read like a thriller,” the plan began in 2001 and involved scenario planning for an “Hermès takeover” conducted under the codename “Mercure.” LVMH, in a statement, “vigorously contests the findings of the report” and are preparing to fight the allegations. The AMF is scheduled to meet on May 31 to discuss the matter.

Le Brésil dans la course au luxe (M le magazine du Monde)

Le Monde’s Vicky Chahine reports on Brazil’s luxury market, focusing on the intense battle between São Paulo’s luxury shopping centres. In a city where tropical rain and high crime rates make navigating city streets undesirable, high-end malls have became the premier destination for fashion and luxury brands. In particular, two malls, Cidade Jardim and JK Iguatemi, are locked in fierce competition. And in the fight to attract top brands, everything is negotiable — and rent and store location are critical bargaining chips. Indeed, in order to lure the most sought-after brands, shopping centres can often offer a month or more of free rent, prime locations (even if it mean moving other stores), and, if that’s not enough, may even propose to simply cover the costs of rent, sales staff and deliveries.

Le sport dopé aux marques (Les Echos)

With the French Open and Monaco Grand Prix only days away, Les Echos analyses the evolution of sports in today’s society and its role in helping to build and support lifestyle brands. In fact, sport has become a pretext for lifestyle, says the article. Sportswear elements, like sneakers, sweatpants and hoodies long ago appeared on the streets and have since been adopted by fashion brands like Alexander Wang. Meanwhile, over the years, many athleticwear brands have moved into fashion — Adidas partnered with Yohji Yamamoto, Lacoste hired Felipe Oliveira Baptista and Nike developed Nike Sportswear. With the rise of yoga, running and Pilates, even sweating has become fashionable, the article says. Little wonder that Kering (formerly PPR) expects its ‘Sport and Lifestyle’ brands, over time, to become as important as their luxury brands.