LVMH Said Investing in Marco de Vincenzo

The French luxury group is to acquire a minority stake in the Rome-based designer, sources said.

MILAN — Marco de Vincenzo is fashion’s latest young gun to attract investment from a big luxury group.

This story first appeared in the February 24, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is to reveal today that it has struck a joint venture with the Rome-based designer to develop his fledgling ready-to-wear brand.

De Vincenzo showed his fall collection here Sunday.

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According to sources, the agreement gives LVMH a “significant” minority holding in de Vincenzo’s company, with options to tighten the partnership and increase its stake down the road.

Delphine Arnault — the daughter of LVMH chairman and chief executive officer Bernard Arnault and second in command at Louis Vuitton — was said to be instrumental in the de Vincenzo deal. She has emerged as a crucial talent scout for the group as the competition to acquire hot young designers — and engage and assist them via philanthropic endeavors — intensifies.

Later this week in Paris, Arnault is to welcome the 30 semifinalists competing for the inaugural LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize, her latest high-profile initiative.

De Vincenzo becomes the fourth designer in the last two years to attract money from LVMH’s rich coffers, joining Paris-based Maxime Simoens and London designers J.W. Anderson and Nicholas Kirkwood on its roster of fashion names, which includes Fendi, Givenchy, Céline, Kenzo and Loewe, for which Anderson was appointed creative director.

Rival French group Kering has also bagged some buzzy names, last year taking a 51 percent stake in London-based Christopher Kane and making a minority investment in Altuzarra, the New York-based house of designer Joseph Altuzarra.

After launching his collection during Milan Fashion Week in September 2009, the 34-year-old de Vincenzo won Vogue Italia’s “Who Is on Next?” competition.

Since then, he has gained a reputation for sophisticated fashions that marry a classic, sporty allure with intense fabric research and optical effects.

Backstage at his show Sunday, the designer enthused that the LVMH transaction would give him the support needed to take his business to the next level.

“I needed to make my research stronger, and they are the perfect partner,” he said.

De Vincenzo honed his skills with innovative materials at Fendi, where in 2000 he began helping Silvia Venturini Fendi design the brand’s accessories collections.

It is understood de Vincenzo will continue to consult for the Roman fashion label, which, in a precursor to the joint venture deal, began providing logistics and operational support to his rtw label.

WWD first reported that LVMH had its eye on the designer in September 2012, when Fendi chairman and ceo Pietro Beccari attended de Vincenzo’s show and acknowledged LVMH’s interest in his signature brand.

At present, de Vincenzo wholesales his collection to about 20 specialty stores.

While positioned in the designer segment, de Vincenzo’s dresses retail for between 900 euros and 1,600 euros, or $1,235 and $2,200 at current exchange; outerwear comes in at about 1,200 euros, or $1,650, while knitwear runs from 600 to 1,100 euros, or $825 to $1,510.

De Vincenzo is poised to become the latest member of the Fendi studio to make a name for himself beyond the Roman house, which is to fete its 90th anniversary next year. Famous Fendi alumni include Gucci’s creative director Frida Giannini and Valentino design duo Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli.