PARIS — Creed. Memo. Juliette Has a Gun. Might one of these niche fragrance brands be a multinational’s next acquisition target?While none of them has a visible for-sale sign at present, they’re among the privately held fragrance brands in Europe currently ripe for the picking. It’s a crop, however, that keeps shrinking in size — most recently due to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s announcement on Monday that it had purchased a majority share in Maison Francis Kurkdjian.The news confirmed a report WWD published on Nov. 14.LVMH’s acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, is the latest move in the accelerating race among companies vying to snap up hot niche beauty labels as the trend for premium products keeps rising. Luxury and superluxury brands also tend to offer solid growth rates, and they present an alternative for some multinationals wanting to move away from celebrity or fashion perfume labels.The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. has been a frontrunner in the charge for niche European fragrance brands. In February 2016, it acquired By Kilian, and in 2014 the company scooped up Éditions de Parfums Frédéric Malle and Le Labo.In early January 2016, Puig purchased Penhaligon’s and L’Artisan Parfumeur, and L’Oréal bought Atelier Cologne last June.LVMH was a pioneer in buying indie beauty brands in the late Nineties, but it’s not been acquisitive in that space for more than a decade. Instead, the company has been actively creating niche labels through its Kendo division, which functions as an incubator for products that are sold in the LVMH-owned Sephora perfumery chain, among other outposts.Meanwhile, LVMH’s fragrance division relaunched Louis Vuitton into the world of perfumes last fall with a line of seven scents in extremely tight distribution — just 200 of the brand’s stores (or fewer doors than make up many niche labels’ distribution).LVMH’s fragrance activity — which ranked eleventh in the WWD Beauty Inc Top 100 listing of beauty makers for 2015 with sales of 4.52 billion euros, or $5.01 billion at average exchange — includes brands such as Christian Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy and Fendi. Maison Francis Kurkdjian is the first niche fragrance label LVMH has acquired since 2001, when it bought Acqua di Parma.Maison Francis Kurkdjian was created in 2009 by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian and Marc Chaya with a line of 25 products and a boutique in Paris. The wide-ranging brand takes a holistic approach to beauty, with a “fragrance wardrobe” — involving everything from eaux de toilette to scented bubbles and textile cleaning products — meant for perfuming a person’s life 24 hours a day, seven days a week.Today, Maison Francis Kurkdjian has two stores in Paris, three in Taiwan, one in Malaysia and another in Dubai. Worldwide, it is in more than 40 countries, with over 30 counters and a presence in almost 500 retailers, including Bergdorf Goodman, Aedes Perfumery, C.O. Bigelow Apothecary and Neiman Marcus.The perfume label, whose largest market is the U.S., registered retail sales of about $25 million in 2015, up 40 percent versus 2014.Maison Francis Kurkdjian in January 2016 became a member of Comité Colbert, the association promoting French luxury and know-how.“Motivated by a shared vision of French perfume making and the creativity that inspires it, LVMH and Maison Francis Kurkdjian have announced their association in order to jointly pursue the long-term development of the fragrance house,” the companies said in a statement, adding that growth will be sought especially abroad.“Their avant-garde spirit and the quality of their creations give this fragrance house great potential and a promising future,” said Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH.Kurkdjian is one of the best-known perfumers today, having created blockbuster scents such as Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male and Narciso Rodriguez’s Narciso for Her. The perfumer has also conceived perfumes for some of LVMH’s own brands, including Acqua di Parma, Christian Dior, Guerlain and Kenzo.Kurkdjian, who was made a Knight of Arts and Letters in France in 2008, stated: “I have always championed my personal conception of beauty and respect for the métier of perfumer-creator. Maison Francis Kurkdjian lets me freely express my inspirations. LVMH clearly understands the nature of our maison, and the group’s approach to custom-crafted creativity guarantees that our distinctive identity will thrive for the long term.”Chaya is a former partner at Ernst & Young in Paris. He and Kurkdjian will continue at Maison Francis Kurkdjian in their current roles of ceo and creative director, respectively. They will remain shareholders in the house, as well.
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews