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Why an LVMH-Tiffany Deal Makes Sense

This week, everyone will be talking about Virgil Abloh's collaboration with Ikea, LVMH's play for Tiffany, Hedi Slimane's first fragrance collection for Celine and Halloween's spooky fashion moment. Get your BoF Professional Cheat Sheet here.
Tiffany & Co store in Hong Kong | Source: Shutterstock
By
  • Brian Baskin
BoF PROFESSIONAL

THE CHEAT SHEET

LVMH's Bid for Tiffany

Tiffany & Co.'s Vision and Virtuosity exhibition entrance | Source: Courtesy Tiffany & Co.'s Vision and Virtuosity exhibition entrance | Source: Courtesy

Tiffany's Vision and Virtuosity entrance | Source: Courtesy

  • LVMH has approached Tiffany about a potential takeover, according to media reports
  • A deal would boost LVMH's presence in the US and in hard luxury
  • Tiffany shares are up 22 percent this year; the company has a market capitalisation of $11.9 billion
It looks like fashion’s M&A dry spell is over. LVMH is reportedly pursuing a play for Tiffany, which would bolt on the US jewellery maker’s $4.4 billion in annual sales to its already considerable holdings. LVMH’s last major investment in hard luxury, its 2011 acquisition of Bulgari, has performed well for the luxury conglomerate, and Tiffany will add a broader customer base, both in terms of geography (the brand generates about half its sales in the US and has seen surging sales in China) and customer base (Tiffany products straddle the high-low divide). At the same time, Tiffany could use a larger parent to navigate the US-China trade war, which has hurt sales to tourists in the US, and expand in categories like watches. 
The Bottom Line: Richemont is the obvious loser if LVMH snaps up Tiffany, as it would have a much stronger challenger in hard luxury. 

The King of Collabs Goes to Ikea

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Ikea's Virgil Abloh-designed collection goes on sale November 1 | Source: Courtesy Ikea's Virgil Abloh-designed collection goes on sale November 1 | Source: Courtesy

Ikea's Virgil Abloh-designed collection goes on sale November 1 | Source: Courtesy

  • Markerad, a limited collaboration between Ikea and Virgil Abloh, drops at the furniture chain's stores on Nov. 1
  • Abloh has collaborated with brands ranging from Nike to Moncler to Byredo
  • Abloh said in September he would be taking a break from travelling, and did not appear at Off-White's Paris show later that month
Virgil Abloh collaborations drop with impressive regularity, but his collection for Ikea has generated more hype than most. Those lucky enough to have snagged a ticket, and hardy enough to wait in line outside one of the big blue box stores can pick up a backlit Mona Lisa designed by Abloh (with an assist from Leonardo da Vinci), or a "Wet Grass" rug. Both Ikea and Abloh are likely to come out winners from the 15-piece collection, which has been in the works for two years: Ikea gets to pitch itself to young and fashionable millennials and Gen Zers who are setting up home for the first time. Abloh can add another global brand to his long list of successful collaborations.

The Bottom Line: High-low collaborations have a mixed track record for designers, who often receive little more than a short burst of exposure in front of consumers who could never afford their main collections. There is little danger of that for Abloh, whose personal brand is all about democratising design.

Hedi Slimane's Haute Parfumerie

Hedi Slimane's first fragrance collection for Celine goes on sale October 31 | Source: Courtesy Hedi Slimane's first fragrance collection for Celine goes on sale October 31 | Source: Courtesy

Hedi Slimane's first fragrance collection for Celine goes on sale October 31 | Source: Courtesy

  • Celine's Haute Parfumerie, a collection of scents designed by Hedi Slimane, goes on sale Oct. 31
  • The LVMH-owned brand has released only one other scent, in 1964
  • Luxury fashion brands are expanding into adjacent categories like beauty and fragrance as they look to boost direct sales

Fragrances can have the whiff of a cash-in for luxury brands. They are often produced by licensing companies and sold at prices accessible to anyone wandering through a Macy's or airport duty free shop. Some luxury brands are shaking up that image, including Dior, which sells €395 bottles of Bois d'Argent perfume at its Champs-Elysées boutique. Hedi Slimane's first fragrances for Celine comprise 11 scents for men and women, and will be sold online and in some boutiques. The prices certainly live up to the "Haute Parfumerie" name for the collection, with a 100ml bottle selling for £175 (about $220). 

The Bottom Line: Fragrance is unlikely to become a major revenue driver for Celine, but it offers another opportunity for Slimane to connect with consumers on his terms, rather than those of a wholesaler or licensee.

Fast Costumes

Fast-fashion brands see Halloween as an opportunity for sales | Source: Pretty Little Thing Fast-fashion brands see Halloween as an opportunity for sales | Source: Pretty Little Thing

Fast-fashion brands see Halloween as an opportunity for sales | Source: Pretty Little Thing

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  • US revelers will spend $3.3 billion on costumes this year, according to the National Retail Federation
  • Fast fashion brands have embraced Halloween, with special sections on their sites and in-store displays
  • This year's most popular adult costumes include witches (9 percent), vampires (4 percent) and superheroes (3 percent), according  to the NRF

Halloween has been slowly edging its way into the fashion category for years. The average trick-or-treater spends about $30 per costume for a single use, which basically describes the fast fashion business model. Pretty Little Thing sells costumes ranging from "sexy rabbit" to "sexy Egyptian goddess" to "sexy Edward Scissorhands." Other brands pitch costumes that can be repurposed for everyday wear. Primary, a direct-to-consumer children's clothing start-up, offers DIY costume ideas based off its mono-hued clothes, and even staffs a costume hotline for befuddled parents.

The Bottom Line: Halloween is unlikely to take off outside of fast fashion or children's wear. Is there anything a designer wants to hear less than that their collection is "costume-y"?

SUNDAY READING

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