default-output-block.skip-main
BoF Logo

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.

When Will Gucci Join Luxury’s Post-Pandemic Party?

This week, everyone will be talking about Kering’s 2021 results, the end of New York Fashion Week and the start of the shows in London.
The raw space that is set to house Balenciaga’s three-week pop-up shop at 35-37 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, showcasing its Gucci “Hacker” project.
The raw space that is set to house Balenciaga’s three-week pop-up shop at 35-37 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, showcasing its Gucci “Hacker” project. (Courtesy)
BoF PROFESSIONAL

Questions for Kering

  • Kering reports fourth-quarter and full-year results on Feb. 17
  • The group’s overall sales have been strong, but Gucci’s performance has lagged rivals
  • Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and McQueen all saw big increases in sales heading into the holiday season covered by this week’s results

If LVMH results have lately had all the predictability of a TAG Heuer watch, Kering’s offer plenty for luxury industry watchers to chew over. As the luxury boom rolls on, the group as a whole has reported the same record profits and booming sales as the rest of the sector. But the biggest brand in Kering’s portfolio by far, Gucci, has mostly missed out (in the third quarter, comparable sales grew 4 percent to Saint Laurent’s 28 percent). Can a much-hyped collaboration with Balenciaga, a celeb-packed show in LA and NFTs overcome the steep decline in global tourism that has hurt sales of handbags and belts?

Speaking of Balenciaga, few brands have more hype right now, and while Kering doesn’t break out the label’s numbers, it shouldn’t be too hard to suss out how that buzz is translating into sales. Meanwhile, Bottega Veneta’s revival was still very much in process when Daniel Lee unexpectedly exited in November. His replacement, Matthieu Blazy, will debut his first collection in Milan next month. Will that touch off a wider pivot for the brand? And did Saint Laurent, which manages to lap up sales quarter after quarter on a fraction of Balenciaga’s buzz, have another quietly spectacular holiday?

The Bottom Line: It would be a genuine surprise if Kering doesn’t report monster growth like LVMH, Prada and other heavy hitters. But until Gucci joins the party, the group may remain a half-step behind its rivals.

The Big Game

  • New York Fashion Week concludes on Feb. 16, and London Fashion Week begins two days later
  • Both have struggled to draw attention as big brands opt to show in Paris or off-schedule
  • Some smaller brands are finding success playing to a more intimate crowd

In our latest This Week In Fashion briefing, we compared fashion weeks to the Super Bowl and the Olympics. It’s an only slightly tortured metaphor for the growing divide between megabrands in Paris and Milan that, much like the NFL, can still draw the world’s attention, and the rest, who, like Olympic athletes, must accept they’re playing for a smaller audience of insiders and diehard fans. The shows in New York and London exemplify the latter camp: labels like Saint Sintra and Elena Velez have their devotees, and a well-received show can lead to some very real business with top wholesale partners off the runway. In London, the continued absence of Burberry is a major blow, one that emerging designers like Nensi Dojaka and Saul Nash are hoping to fill.

The Bottom Line: The pandemic, which even a few weeks ago threatened to dominate the fashion week conversation, is rapidly receding into the background. New York recently lifted its indoor mask mandate, the schedule is packed, and many of the UK’s remaining restrictions are due to be lifted this month.

The Week Ahead wants to hear from you! Send tips, suggestions, complaints and compliments to brian.baskin@businessoffashion.com.

Join BoF Professional to get access to the exclusive insight and analysis that keeps you ahead of the competition. Subscribe to BoF Professional here.

© 2021 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.
CONNECT WITH US ON
The BoF Sustainability Masterclass Series
© 2022 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions and Privacy policy.
The BoF Sustainability Masterclass Series