Antoine Arnault, son of Bernard Arnault, the founder of the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, has declared an end to bling — at least at the fashion industry’s most luxurious end. Could this new understatement be a driving force behind the continuing success of LVMH and other global luxury brands?
As LVMH sales keep going up, the younger Arnault attributes the numbers to two things — the first is a renewed commitment to quality and beauty over logos and ostentation, and the second is a strong male customer base. And to combine the two, he also thinks the company’s success is due to male customers who are spending more on inconspicuous luxury wear. LVMH is, of course, delivering in that niche with heritage brands like Berluti.
While “the end of bling” is a nebulous declaration — or at least, one that could reverse itself a few seasons down the line — the increased demand for menswear is not. With Tom Ford and Christopher Bailey at the helm, London is planning to launch a men’s fashion weekend (a shortened version of women’s Fashion Week) in June. Meanwhile, luxury menswear is growing at about twice the rate of its female-oriented counterpart. What does surge this mean for high-end fashion on the whole? If, for instance, women were to buy substantially less, will male-driven purchases soon be able to keep the industry afloat? We’ll be interested to see how menswear’s growing prevalence affects fashion’s dynamics across the board.