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Kering’s Beauty Strategy Comes Into Focus

This week, Kering’s beauty strategy came into focus when the world’s second largest luxury fashion group announced that it is acquiring the niche fragrance brand Creed at a price close to $3 billion.
Kering will acquire 100 percent of the luxury niche fragrance brand Creed.
Kering will acquire 100 percent of the luxury niche fragrance brand Creed. (Courtesy)

Dear BoF Community,

Hello from London. This is Imran Amed. Welcome to my new weekly briefing where I will share the must-read stories from The Business of Fashion each Saturday.

This week, Kering’s beauty strategy came into focus when the world’s second largest luxury fashion group announced that it is acquiring the niche fragrance brand Creed at a price close to $3 billion – according to new reporting led by our team at The Business of Beauty, making this perhaps the largest acquisition by value for a single beauty brand.

An acquisition of this scale is the first step for Kering to realise its ambition to build a beauty business that can compete with arch-rival LVMH — owners of Dior Beauty, Guerlain and Sephora — as well as global beauty behemoths Estée Lauder, Puig and L’Oréal.

But this will take time to fall into place. Kering’s biggest fashion brands, Gucci and Saint Laurent, are tied into long-term licensing agreements with Coty and L’Oréal, respectively, and Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga have no real beauty businesses to speak of yet and will be starting completely from scratch.

This is why Kering needed a sizeable acquisition for its new head of Kering Beauté, CEO Raffaella Cornaggia, to kickstart their strategy. Now that fragrance is out of the way, look out for further acquisitions in skin care and cosmetics. And as our beauty editor-at-large Rachel Strugatz pointed out in her weekly newsletter, this latest mega-deal in beauty has prompted speculation of who might be next. Keep an eye on ultra-luxe skin care brand Augustinus Bader, which was the subject of an excellent BoF Professional case study back in 2021.

Here are more top picks from our analysis on fashion, luxury and beauty:

1. Sources on the ground in Paris told our luxury editor Robert Williams that Anthony Vaccarello’s former design director Chemena Kamali is leading a parallel studio at Chloé, with Gabriela Hearst’s future at the Richemont-owned brand unclear.

Chloé Ready to Wear Autumn/Winter 2023 show.

2. Our chief sustainability correspondent Sarah Kent was in Copenhagen at the Global Fashion Summit where LVMH’s Antoine Arnault called for a luxury-focused sustainability pact and the EU Commissioner told BoF the environmental damage and waste created by throwaway fast fashion is “absolutely unacceptable.” Sarah has all the news in this wrap up.

This week at fashion’s annual sustainability gathering, luxury giant LVMH called for a luxury-only sustainability initiative, while policymakers pressed for an end to throwaway fast fashion.

3. Tiffany Ap reports on how brands including Jacquemus, Tod’s, Isabel Marant and Victoria Beckham are experimenting with eccentric CGI marketing campaigns.

Brands including Jacquemus, Tod’s, Isabel Marant, and Victoria Beckham are experimenting with eccentric and absurd CGI marketing campaigns.

4. Daniel-Yaw Miller and Marc Bain explain why Nike is returning to third-party stores six years after it first announced a pivot toward direct channels. This isn’t a reversal of priorities as much as it is an evolution of Nike’s distribution strategy, analysts say.

After cutting ties with major retailers as part of its radical DTC strategy, Nike will re-enter certain stores, hinting at the importance of wholesale in post-pandemic retail.

5. And don’t miss Cathaleen Chen’s take on this extensively researched report in the niche fashion newsletter Blackbird Spyplane examining how rampant discounting by Ssense, the ultracool Montréal-based e-commerce player recently valued at more than $4 billion, is hurting independent labels and boutiques. One of the best reads of the week and according to my own sources, very accurate, if lacking nuance in arguing some of the main points.

Maiden Name is a New York City-based brand that splits its revenue equally between wholesale and direct-to-consumer, which includes its store on Manhattan's Orchard Street.

The BoF Podcast

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For Schuyler Bailar, an activist, author and the first openly transgender NCAA Division I swimmer in the US, finding a sense of belonging hasn’t always been easy. Bailar realised being accepted by society wasn’t as important as accepting himself.

“Belonging is not something that’s going to be given to me. It’s something that I have to find on my own,” said Bailar at The Business of Beauty Global Forum 2023.

This week on The BoF Podcast, Bailar opens up about his own experiences with the pressures to conform to Eurocentric and cisgender beauty ideals as a biracial, transgender man, how he discovered his path to self-acceptance and why he wants others to be able to do the same.

Have a great weekend,

Imran Amed

Founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, The Business of Fashion

P.S. This week we also announced the first speaker line-up for BoF VOICES 2023 taking place from November 28-30, including Chanel’s Global CEO Leena Nair, Bottega Veneta creative director Matthieu Blazy, and Fast Retailing’s John Jay. Request an invitation to attend here.

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