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LVMH Said Eyeing London’s J.W. Anderson

According to sources, the luxury giant has held talks with the hot London designer about investing in his fledgling business.

PARIS — Does Bernard Arnault have his eye on J.W. Anderson?

This story first appeared in the September 11, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

According to sources, luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has held talks with the hot London designer about investing in his fledgling business.

LVMH declined to comment. A spokesman for Anderson’s company said: “I am not aware of any talks between the two.”

If a deal is completed, it would be the latest in a string of investments in fledgling brands by the world’s leading luxury goods companies. Kering bought an estimated 40 percent of Joseph Altuzarra last week, after having taken a majority in British designer Christopher Kane earlier this year.

While partial to heritage brands with business scale — as LVMH’s $2.56 billion purchase of Loro Piana in July attests — Arnault last year took a stake in young French designer Maxime Simoens, with Christian Dior honcho Sidney Toledano serving as an occasional business coach.

That move suggested the French luxury giant wishes to forge ties with promising designers who might one day take on its bigger brands, which range from Loewe and Fendi to Louis Vuitton.

As reported, LVMH is also in advanced talks to invest in the British shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood, according to sources.

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Born in Northern Ireland in 1984, Jonathan William Anderson is known for his provocative and androgynous designs. He studied men’s wear at the London College of Fashion, graduating in 2005, and launched his J.W. Anderson fashion label in 2008.

In November, Donatella Versace tapped him to do a capsule collection for Versus, Versace’s second line. Anderson followed in the footsteps of Kane, whose own burgeoning London business attracted a majority investment from rival French group PPR, now known as Kering.

Coincidentally, Kane and Anderson have studios in the same building on Shacklewell Lane in a gritty borough of the English capital.

Following Kering’s purchase of the stake in Kane’s company, the designer underlined just how important it is for an emerging fashion brand to have the full force of a luxury goods giant behind it.

He’s admitted to sleeping better at night since the deal was signed, and has plans to open a flagship in Mayfair, and launch an accessories collection and another ready-to-wear line.

“PPR understands and appreciates our creative independence, but at the same time has the experience and expertise to be able to help us grow our business globally,” Kane told WWD. “We have had a number of approaches, but after lengthy discussions it was clear that PPR is the partner for us.”

Kane isn’t the only emerging talent to benefit from the backing of the deep-pocketed Kering. On Friday, Kering took a minority stake — industry sources estimate it’s in the region of 40 percent — in Joseph Altuzarra’s company.

“There was this need for financial support, but there was also a need for infrastructure and expertise and experience, especially in the market sector that we’re in, which is luxury,” Altuzarra told WWD.

“I really felt that I couldn’t just do financial support. I really needed a partner who would be able to provide expertise of the business that we’re in and also be able to find the synergies that would help us.”