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Can Stella McCartney Change LVMH From Within? 

This week, everyone will be talking about Stella McCartney's first show as part of the LVMH empire, Dover Street Market's new beauty shop in Paris and the unveiling of the BoF 500. Get your BoF Professional Cheat Sheet.
Stella McCartney | Source: INDIGITAL.TV
By
  • Brian Baskin

THE CHEAT SHEET

Stella McCartney Makes Her LVMH Debut at Paris Fashion Week

Stella McCartney Autumn/Winter 2017 campaign | Source: Courtesy

  • Stella McCartney stages her Spring/Summer 2020 show in Paris on Sept. 30
  • LVMH bought a minority stake in Stella McCartney's ethical fashion brand in July
  • The designer is also serving as an advisor to LVMH leadership and the public face of the conglomerate's environmental efforts
LVMH is the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, but has lagged other major fashion companies in addressing the industry’s impact on the environment. Archrival Kering - which owned 50 percent of McCartney's label until last year - is pitching itself as a global leader on sustainability. Meanwhile, LVMH says it's in favor of "acts not pacts," a direct attack on Kering's Fashion Pact, and LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault has criticised teen climate activist Greta Thunberg as "demoralising." This gap is likely one reason why the conglomerate took a stake in Stella McCartney's brand and named the designer a special advisor on sustainability to Arnault and the group's executive committee. Last week, she described her mission as to "infiltrate from within." Her main role for now is to act as the public face of LVMH's sustainability efforts, starting with Monday's show. McCartney hasn't revealed her plans, but some sort of statement is likely, as so many designers now routinely mix social issues and fashion on the runway. 

The Bottom Line: LVMH likely expects McCartney's sustainability message to perform double duty, helping to grow the brand's sales globally while burnishing the conglomerate's reputation.

Dover Street Market Branches Into Beauty

A Comme des Garçons installation at Dover Street Market New York | Source: Instagram/@doverstreetmarketnewyork

  • Dover Street Market is opening its first beauty shop in Paris on Oct. 2
  • Consultant and Colette founder Sarah Andelman helped select the assortment, which includes Comme des Garçons perfumes alongside a curated mix of trendy and hard-to-find luxury fragrances, cosmetics and skin care products by third parties
  • The luxury fashion mecca has also launched a brand incubator, Dover Street Market Paris

It's not enough to merely be a retailer these days, and Dover Street Market is the latest wholesaler looking to expand its horizons. The mini-chain of luxury multi-brand boutiques is applying its strength as a curator of high-end products to a new market, stocking a new Paris shop with ultra-trendy fragrances and beauty lines from the likes of Edward Bess and Gucci Westman, as well as exclusive products. To curate its assortment, the retailer hired Sarah Andelman, former creative director of Colette, the Parisian concept store renowned for its selection and displays, which closed in 2017.  The luxury beauty business is booming, and so are retailers like Dover Street Market that can convince consumers they are "destinations" and brand platforms of their own rather than mere stores. 

The Bottom Line: Retailers need to build their reputations as curators and brand builders as the appeal of the wholesale model wanes. A similar goal drove Farfetch's $675 million acquisition of New Guards Group earlier this year, bringing the incubator behind Off-White and Heron Preston in house.

-Laure Guilbault contributed to this report

Meet the New BoF 500

Chika Oranika | Photo by Catherine Servel for BoF

  • The Business of Fashion will unveil the latest incarnation of the BoF 500 in Paris
  • This year's theme is inclusivity, both assessing the industry's track record and exploring how progress can be achieved
  • The event in Paris will feature discussions about the industry's progress and shortcomings on this front, plus musical performances and more

The fashion industry has spent much of the last year lurching from PR crisis to PR crisis, whether it's Gucci's "blackface" balaclava sweater or Nike's Betsy Ross flag sneakers. The common thread tying these incidents together is inclusivity - or lack thereof. After each misstep, brands have acknowledged their lack of internal diversity, which has in turn hampered their ability to communicate to an increasingly diverse customer base. But there's more to it than that: inclusivity is also good for innovation. This year, our BoF 500 special print issue takes a close look at the industry's track record when it comes to inclusivity, as well as the innovators, artists and businesspeople who are moving the conversation forward. The issue will be released, along with new additions to our BoF 500 community, at a gala event at the Hôtel de Ville in Paris this Monday night.

The Bottom Line: The fashion industry is slowing waking up to the fact that inclusivity is not just a matter of being politically correct and avoiding PR scandals; it's also good for business.

SUNDAY READING

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