Commentary

LVMH, Stella McCartney Sailing Together In A Sea Of Green

A year after Stella McCartney and Kering severed  their 17-year relationship, arch-rival LVMH announced that it is taking a minority position in Stella McCartney House  and the activist designer will serve as a special advisor on sustainability to LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault and his executive committee.

McCartney will remain creative director and ambassador of her brand, according to the release announcing the alliance, which promises more details about the “full scope” of arrangement in September.

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“A passionate vegetarian and animal rights advocate like her mother [Linda], Stella McCartney has long put her namesake business at the forefront of sustainable, ethical fashion at the luxury level. The company uses ‘fur-free fur,’ vegetarian leather and natural, sustainable materials such as wool and silk in its designs. Last year, McCartney announced a new charitable branch of the business (Stella McCartney Cares Green) focused on sustainability and public policy,” Ingrid Schmidt writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

“The ethical fashion label will hardly move the needle for LVMH, but could help the group boost its sustainability credentials, which are seen to be lagging arch rival and former owner Kering at a time when consumers and regulators are taking notice,” observe  Sarah Kent and  Laure Guilbault for The Business of Fashion.

"Luxury brands have largely lagged behind their mass-market peers on such topics. In 2014, fast-fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz AB launched its first garments made from recycled cotton, while the company also sells products made from recycled polyamide, wool and cashmere,” Noemie Bisserbe and Saabira Chaudhur write  for The Wall Street Journal.

“[H&M] in March said it would phase out cashmere products by 2020 out of environmental and animal-welfare concerns. It has committed to 100% of the cotton it uses being sustainable by 2020. Rival Gap Inc. has made the same commitment by 2025. Meanwhile Zara owner Inditex has said it plans to send no waste to landfills by 2020…. Both H&M and Zara are investing in recycling technologies so that old clothes can be turned into new ones,” they add.

“At LVMH, Mr Arnault’s eldest son Antoine Arnault has played a key role in many of the group’s initiatives in these areas, including a partnership with the U.N. world heritage agency Unesco to safeguard biodiversity that was announced  in May,” writes  Harriet Agnew for Financial Times

“Consumers and regulators are increasingly concerned about the environmental cost of fashion.… A report in May by consultancy BCG and sustainable fashion groups, found that rapid growth of the global fashion industry risks ‘exerting an unprecedented strain on planetary resources’ by raising annual production of fashion to more than 100 million tons,’” Agnew adds.

The New York Times’ Elizabeth Paton sees  Shakespearean intrigue behind the new alliance between McCartney and LVMH, writing in her lede that it is “a move worthy of the rivalry between the Montagues and the Capulets.” She concludes with with the observation that McCartney states that she has been approached numerous times by potential partners and investors since leaving Kering.

“The chance to realize and accelerate the full potential of the brand alongside Mr. Arnault and as part of the LVMH family, while still holding the majority ownership in the business, was an opportunity that hugely excited me,” McCartney says in the release.

“Shakespeare could not have put it better,” Paton suggests.

Meanwhile, singer/songwriter/visual artist Grimes will be the face of the Adidas by Stella McCartney autumn/winter 2019 collection, it was also announced yesterday

“The iconic designer … hailed the Canadian singer as the ‘perfect embodiment’ of the label’s ethos….The forthcoming collection reportedly focuses on McCartney’s love of environmentally friendly fashion and features eco-friendly fabrics including recycled polyester and Econyl yarn,” writes Nick Reilly for NME.

“[Grimes] is passionate and outspoken about protecting the planet, and a true trailblazer for pushing creative boundaries and inspiring women to unlock their potential in all aspects of their lives,” McCartney said. 

Grimes promoted McCartney’s POP fragrance in 2016, Chloe Gilke reminds us  on Uproar.

In an Instagram post  promoting the new collaboration, “Grimes detailed her training regimen, which includes stretching, incline hiking -- and, uh, astro-gliding to other dimensions.” Not to mention sword fighting.

“Every line is wilder than the last. I’ve been fatigued in the afternoons lately and figured it’s probably anemia again, but maybe my problem is I need to incorporate screaming sessions into my daily workouts,” Gilke writes.

Don’t we all.

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