Kenzo, a brand of the LVMH group, has lost its creative director Felipe Oliveira Baptista. The acclaimed designer directed Lacoste for eight years and took over Carol Lim and Humberto Leon as artistic director of Kenzo in the summer of 2019. His tenure was undoubtedly a beautiful moment for the brand, with absolutely remarkable collections. However, perhaps we’re not enough to bring Kenzo on a par with the other teammates at LVMH.
It is however, interesting to note that Kenzo is the second LVMH brand in a month to lose its creative director. The first was the announcement of the separation between Kris Van Assche and Berlut. Without wishing to speculate too much about the future of the group’s strategies, Baptista’s case also recalled the departure of Paul Andrew from Salvatore Ferragamo last month. Both Baptista and Andrew and the aforementioned Van Assche are relatively young designers. They found themselves having to rejuvenate historical fashion brands such as Kenzo, Berluti, and Ferragamo, lagging behind the Superstar brands of the French group.
Since both Kenzo and Berluti are from LVMH, a strategy behind these matches certainly exists. But at the moment there is a complete lack of information about it. If that can be any indication, neither Kenzo nor Berluti is mentioned in the sale’s highlights in the group’s report for the first quarter of the year.
But the real question is: will it need to be replaced? When Sebastien Meunier left Ann Demeulemeester, the brand’s new owners have not bet their chips on a new creative director. They preferred to let the design team sign the brand’s collections. As Business of Fashion points out, among other things, Kenzo is one of LVMH’s few premium price brands (that is a step below the luxury price of brands like Louis Vuitton or Dior), perhaps suggesting that the brand could receive the same treatment. The brand will continue to produce its classic items that have made great sales without pushing its transformation further.
While brands like Louis Vuitton and Dior quickly returned to health after the lockdown, the 23% drop in luxury sales last year also pushed industry titans like LVMH to shed excess weight: the group has unplugged the Rihanna brand, Fenty, along with British shirtmaker Thomas Pink and shoe manufacturer Nicholas Kirkwood, the group had a financial partnership.