Bernard Arnault LVMH CEO and Luxury fashion
There are many contributing elements which differentiate the luxury industry from any other, however, the artistic dimension of the luxury business is a huge contributor to what makes luxury stand above all other activities. The luxury product has always been subject to a deep and profound aesthetic research process. Recently I came across a interview by Bernard Arnault the CEO of fashion conglomorate LVMH. LVMH controls majority of the luxury fashion brands on the market from Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Berluti, Dior and many more. Below ive added a quote by LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault which I found very interesting.
Heres the quote from Mr Arnault - "The excellent performance, to which all our businesses contributed, is due in part to the buoyant environment but above all to the remarkable creative strength of our brands and their ability to constantly reinvent themselves, In an environment that remains uncertain, we can count on the appeal of our brands and the agility of our teams to strengthen, once again in 2018, our leadership in the universe of high-quality products."
Bernard Arnault’s model of constantly rotating creative directors and recruiting some the best talent in the industry is at the heart of the "reinvention" which he mentions in the statement above. This year has seen the most dramatic changes of recent times in the LVMH catalog as LVMH aims to lock-in millennial shoppers and affuent luxury consumers. The recruitment of popular designers such as Virgil Abloh from fashion house Off White to Louis Vuitton underlines just how important appealing to younger audience is to LVMH's long term strategy. Below is a chart illustrating the changes in the total fashion industry as of 2018.
A deeper look
Obviously there are many contributing factors which go into the success of LVMH but lets touch on a few of the points highlighted by Bernard Arnault and add further context via my own interpretation.
“The remarkable creative strength of our brands”
Strong artistic content: Alexander Mcqueen (not part of LVMH) was a master at this. incorporating art and history within his designs bringing together a marraige of the three elements to create the Mcqueen gown. Not only does the gown elevate the charm of the lady wearing it, but is also a statement. whether political, ethically or personal. the McQueen gown is always a statement.
“The universe of high-quality products”
Luxury is a result of craftsmanship: Luxury can reach into many categories, including everyday objects such as a simple cigarette lighter. A silver S.T dupont lighter is an example. A silver S.T dupont lighter is impeccably designed, must be heavy and strong, the silverwork must be perfect and the size must be in perfect proportion between height and width. This is not a mere object but a masterpiece almost seen as a piece of art itself. THis object is special given as a gift or baught for a special occassion, recognised by many as more than just a lighter.
“We can count on the appeal of our brands”
A luxury object must be international: Gucci is a symbol of luxury across the globe, Regardless of the language barriers our society bestows upon its citizens, the Gucci logo and name has the same meaning in USA as it does in China, as though it is a higher form of communication created only for the very exclusive amoungst us.
2018 brings unprecedented challenges to the luxury industry. Advancement in technology has made designing beautiful objects no longer exclusive of luxury manufacturers anymore, if we compare fast fashion brand such as Zara and luxury brand Philipp Plein then the concept of beauty is subjective.
The key for luxury brands is no longer about how to communicate the importance of ancient crafting methods, but rather how to create compelling reasons why their brand is meaningful, important and unique. Creating visual stories through all touchpoints by incorporating their vision, inspirations and view of the world through curated communication channels that will increase the brands capacity to be recognised as unique.