Her Fenty Beauty makeup line and Savage x Fenty lingerie line continue to perform like the pop star at the peak of her singing career, but Rihanna‚Äôs foray into high fashion with the LVMH-backed Fenty Fashion brand has proven more of a fizzer, folding a mere two years after it launched.
With major consumer markets around the globe including the US and the UK facing another year of lockdowns and social distancing requirements, bad luck could be blamed for the brand‚Äôs failure to take off, and for both parties‚Äô pragmatic decision to pull the plug early and keep losses to a minimum. But fashion commentators are also ruminating on whether Rihanna‚Äôs target audience was the right one to tap for such an ambitious endeavour.
Says Business of Fashion‚Äôs Robert Williams, ‚ÄúEven before Fenty‚Äôs 2019 launch, Rihanna had expressed concern that the label‚Äôs high prices could alienate her sprawling fanbase. LVMH agreed to price items at a lower markup than for its luxury ready-to-wear brands, but they remained a stretch for the vast majority of her audience. At the same time, the concern over pricing caused the brand to favour simple construction and materials, resulting in items that were cheaper than Dior, but hardly as desirable.
‚ÄúMeanwhile, the cohort of luxury shoppers who had emulated Rihanna‚Äôs trademark style ‚ÄĒ mixing Dior and Saint Laurent with Off-White, Y/Project and Jacquemus ‚ÄĒ kept on buying from those brands. Wanting to wear the same things as Rihanna and buying them from Rihanna, it turned out, were just not the same thing.‚ÄĚ
The news is not all bad. Proof of the luxury fashion conglomerate‚Äôs agility and dedication to innovation and the diversification of its portfolio, LVMH this week confirmed a US $115 million investment in Savage x Fenty, commenting that it remained committed to supporting the ‚ÄėFenty eco-system‚Äô, and was not ruling out reviving Fenty Fashion if and when conditions improve.