While everyone has the very highest regard for luxury behemoth LVMH (Louis Vuitton bags! Moet & Chandon champagne! Guerlain perfumes! Donna Karan gowns!), there were a few of us in the fashion industry who felt slightly resentful about the way the company went about gobbling up luxury family firms. It already has dozens, we’d grumble, why does it need to buy them all?
(Indian fashion-industry watchers, though, were secretly overjoyed when the group invested in the proud Made-in-India label, Hidesign.)
So the protracted battle that LVMH has conducted in order to take control of Hermès left a few of us disappointed. The Hermès family, which still controls all operations, is one of the last major independent luxury group still controlled by the founding family, according to this Reuters report. The good news is that the two groups, LVMH and Hermès, have now called for a truce. The global major LVMH has agreed to relinquish most of its 23.2 percent stake in Hermès and not acquire any shares in it for five years (will the battle begin afresh then, though?).
With their iconic Birkin and Kelly bags – besides other legendary products such as scarves and leather goods – the 177-year-old French brand Hermès has been every fashion editor’s favourite since the launch of fashion magazines. The family’s stubbornness in holding on to their brand’s ownership had a touch of Bollywood-ian drama about it. (And why not? After all, the Kelly had a big role to play in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. “Bagwati” will not be easily forgotten.)
In celebration of the truce, we go celebrity spotting. Long live the ‘Birqueen’.