Robyn Rihanna Fenty has become the first woman of color — and first woman, period — to run her own label under the parent company LVMH, the Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton arbiter of taste that includes brands like Louis Vuitton as well as Celine, Christian Dior, Givenchy, and Marc Jacobs. Not to be confused with Fendi, another LVMH house, Rihanna’s brand will be named Fenty, expanding her own brand beyond her wildly successful Fenty Beauty cosmetics and Savage X Fenty lingerie lines; Rihanna will direct and create ready-to-wear fashion under her new LVMH Fenty label.
“Designing a line like this with LVMH is an incredibly special moment for us,” said Rihanna in a statement released last week. “[Bernard] Arnault has given me a unique opportunity to develop a fashion house in the luxury sector, with no artistic limits. I couldn’t imagine a better partner both creatively and business-wise, and I’m ready for the world to see what we have built together.”
Having no artistic limits is a boon for any creator, let alone a creator who has defied the limitations especially imposed on women of color, and especially in the context of beauty. Only last year did LVMH hire streetwear label Off-White’s Virgil Abloh as an artistic director for Louis Vuitton, the first African-American man to hold such a position within the parent company. With Rihanna at the head of an LVMH fashion house, consumers will also feel that at least some constraints around luxury fashion have been lifted: mainstream, LVMH luxury fashion will no longer be solely created by and for rich, white people.
“I discovered a true entrepreneur, a real CEO and a terrific leader,” said Bernard Arnault in a statement.
Arnault is the chairman and CEO of LVMH. “To support Rihanna to start up the Fenty Maison, we have built a talented and multicultural team supported by the Group resources. I am proud that LVMH is leading this venture and wish it will be a great success.”
LVMH hasn’t launched its own line of fashion in nearly 30 years, but the company is entrusting Rihanna to helm its latest effort to create an original fashion maison. Rihanna and Fenty had previously partnered together for Fenty Beauty, an inclusive line of cosmetics that is estimated to have brought in over $550 million in its first year of sales. Fenty Beauty’s best-selling Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation currently comes in 50 shades, far surpassing other brands in its skin tone offerings, and also advertises its products using a truly representative cast of models. Same with Savage X Fenty, a line that is designed to make lingerie-wearers of all shapes and sizes feel sexy on their own terms.