PARIS — Bernard Arnault is making an investment in the fledgling business of Maxime Simoens, a 27-year-old French wunderkind who had recently been courted by Christian Dior, industry sources said.
It’s a rare move for the French business titan, who has slowed the pace of his luxury acquisitions and recently favored global heritage brands, evidenced by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s $6 billion deal last year to buy Roman jeweler Bulgari.
The last time Arnault made an investment in a smaller fashion firm was in 2009, when LVMH bought a 49 percent stake in Edun, the socially conscious clothing label founded in 2005 by U2 rocker Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson.
Details on the size of the investment in Simoens, and the precise vehicle involved, could not be learned.
LVMH had no comment on Wednesday. Officials at Simoens could not immediately be reached for comment.
An investment in Simoens would suggest Arnault is keen to keep tabs on young talent.
“They do believe in him, and want to finance him,” said one source, suggesting the French group wishes to forge ties with promising designers who could one day take on its bigger brands, which range from Emilio Pucci and Givenchy to Louis Vuitton.
Simoens has repeatedly denied to WWD he has had any contact with Dior.
Simoens has a signature rtw line he shows during the Paris couture schedule. Celebrity fans of his sexy and graphic dresses include actresses Mélanie Laurent, Rachel McAdams and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey.
Born in Lille, Simoens studied applied arts in Lyon and then fashion at the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. After graduating in 2005, he worked for designers including Elie Saab, Jean Paul Gaultier and Nicholas Ghesquière at Balenciaga. He also did a stint beside Galliano at Dior, according to his Web site.
Last September, Simoens tapped Jacques-Emmanuel Falempin as chief executive officer of his two-year-old brand. As a former associate director of the fashion consulting firm Agent de Luxe, Falempin has consulted for several LVMH-owned fashion brands.
The Maxime Simoens collection is carried by such stores as Montaigne Market and Frank & Fils in Paris.
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)
Breaking News: @hedislimane joins @celine as its new artistic, creative and image director. One of fashion’s preeminent image-makers and trendsetters, Slimane is to join the LVMH brand on Feb. 1 and unveil his first fashion proposition for men and women next September during Paris Fashion Week. It marks a major homecoming for Slimane, who cemented his reputation – and influenced men’s tailoring for more than a decade – as the designer of Dior Homme between 2000 and 2007. He went on to reinvent and ignite the house of Yves Saint Laurent, which he rechristened Saint Laurent, between 2012 and 2016 – all the while maintaining a close relationship with the Arnault family, which controls LVMH and Dior. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
“Personally I believe the Eighties have been the richest and more vivacious period for international fashion,” Giorgio Armani said when asked what his favorite decade of fashion is. It was a moment of disruption and experimentation and only thinking back to the first years of that decade is always an emotion for me, for what they have meant to me and my work.” The influence is clear in @giorgioarmani spring 2018 collection, pictured here, which was full of bright colors and unexpected prints. Read more about which decades designers loved most on WWD.com #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
For Lady Gaga’s only Italian show on her “Joanne World Tour,” the singer wore a range of @versace_official outfits. The standout piece: this custom-made bodysuit inspired by the brand’s spring 2018 collection. #wwdfashion (RG: @ladygaga)
@_camillaruth_ is expanding on the wellness-craze concept with @westbourne – a new NYC restaurant that’s both a healthy-minded café as well as a business that gives back to the community. Marcus works with the Robin Hood foundation to give back to The Door, a non-profit providing youth development services, and also hires employees through The Door. Read our full interview with Marcus on giving back through food on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)