One Growing Luxury Brand Could Unseat the House of Gucci

A few rules of fashion pervade the trends and decades of high fashion. 

First, what’s old almost always becomes new again. 

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Second, when you’re leaving the house, always take off one accessory, as Coco Chanel once famously said. 

And third, never, ever, be caught dead in last year’s high fashion. It’s just uncouth. 

That third rule may not be so hard-and-fast, but it definitely seems to apply to the modern luxury shopper, who apparently has finally had her fill of Gucci. 

It seems that, over the past several years, Gucci had something of a stranglehold on the upscale fashion scene. The most well-known models and celebrities walked in Gucci’s shows, including Jared Leto, Macaulay Culkin and Phoebe Bridgers, as A-listers like Miley Cyrus, Diane Keaton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lizzo, Serena Williams, and Billie Eilish looked on. “House of Gucci” premiered in 2021, starring Lady Gaga, and the brand crescendoed ever higher. 

But what goes up must come down, and Gucci has seen its sales stagnate in recent months. Its 2022 holiday season, which should ordinarily be a blockbuster for the brand, saw sales drop 14%. Its most recent Q2 sales came in at a narrowly better 3%, though Kering boss said they still came “short of our ambitions and potential, notably at Gucci.” 

So as the parent company attempts a turnaround plan at the fashion house, it’s put its sights elsewhere to stave off the bleeding and breathe further life into the conglomerate. 

JINAN, CHINA – MARCH 27, 2023 – Customers shop at a GUCCI store in Jinan, Shandong province, China, March 27, 2023. Winnie Wu, chief China equity strategist at Bank of America, said on April 12, 2023 that China’s luxury and consumer discretionary sectors are showing signs of recovery, but the overall turnaround will take time. (Photo credit should read CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Future Publishing/Getty Images

Gucci Parent Company Seeks to Diversify

Kering, which also owns Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen and Yves Saint Laurent, is buying 30% of Italian fashion label Valentino according to an announcement made on Thursday. 

“The transaction is part of a broader strategic partnership between Kering and Mayhoola, which could lead to Mayhoola becoming a shareholder in Kering,” Kering said in a statement. Mayhoola, a Qatari investment fund, is Valentino’s current owner. 

The deal is valued at 1.7 billion euros ($1.87 billion) — all cash. It is expected to go through later this year and also gives Kering a presence on the board.

Known best for its brightly colored leather goods and studded sandals, Valentino is still quite pricey (most of its handbags still go for around $3,000) but exudes a less-stuffy feel, opting instead for playful optimism and prints in its wares. 

“I am impressed with the evolution of Valentino under Mayhoola ownership and very delighted that Mayhoola has chosen Kering as its partner for the development of Valentino, a unique Italian house that is synonymous with beauty and elegance,” Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault said. “I am very pleased of this first step in our collaboration with Mayhoola to develop Valentino and pursue the very strong strategic journey of brand elevation that Jacopo Venturini will continue to lead.”

As Mayhoola will still remain the biggest shareholder at Valentino, the two will work together to further develop opportunities and partnerships, brand recognition, and penetrate new markets. 

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