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.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye