In business since 2015, the Gabriela Hearst brand focuses on luxury ready-to-wear and accessories. The designer opened her first flagship store in November at the Carlyle House on Madison Avenue, has developed a robust rtw and accessories business, was the grand prize winner of the International Woolmark Award, and a 2018 finalist for the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year award. Her designs reflect a commitment to sustainability.
The company, which is profitable, has sales of more than $10 million. Last March, the company opened a permanent showroom in Paris at 1 Avenue Montaigne in a 2,000-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment.
This is the third investment for LVMH Luxury Ventures. The investment will be used to support the ongoing expansion of the Hearst brand’s presence around the world.
Hearst was not available for comment.
Hearst, who was born in Uruguay, took over her father’s ranch there. Her goal was to create a brand that reflected the slower pace and process, where things are made with care and detail. In her designs, she uses some of the wool from her family’s ranch. After a lot of insistence from her husband, she had a mill in Italy take the wool from the ranch and process it, and such looks as her navy twill and gray flannel from the collection comes from the wool from the farm.
“There’s a joke that if the end of the world is coming, you move to Uruguay, because it will come in 15 years,” said Hearst, speaking at the WWD CEO Summit last October. “I learned about quality there, and quality that’s not opulence. Quality that’s made from a utilitarian point of view. Everything, the leather is made by hand, the saddles are made by hand. They need to last. That’s what quality is. You can’t do quality fast. It takes time. That’s where the timeless aspect comes from.”
At the CEO Summit, Hearst described what luxury meant to her. “My family is five generations, and I’m six generations in business. But I know what passion looks like and feels like. It takes sometimes a generation or more to make a good product. When you’re working with mills that are family-owned, they take so much pride in the product. It takes more of a lifetime to create a product. For me, that’s luxury. It’s knowing where everything is made, how it’s made and what you’re giving to your customer.”
Gabriela Hearst is the designer’s second collection that she started from scratch, the first being Candela, a beachy, boho contemporary line launched in 2004. Hearst is married to Austin Hearst, the grandson of William Randolph Hearst, and her current business is self-financed, which allows her the luxury of doing things on her own terms. Her handbag line is strictly direct to consumer.
Hearst’s rtw is available globally at stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Lane Crawford, Selfridges, Le Bon Marché, Forty Five Ten, Richards, Net-a-porter, Matchesfashion.com, Harvey Nichols, and Hirshleifers.
Stylish celebrities have been spotted wearing Hearst’s designs such as Meghan Markle, who carried the Nina bag on Monday, and Glenn Close, who wore Hearst’s custom double-faced, silk, single-breasted blazer and skirt at the 24th annual Critics’ Choice Awards Sunday. Others photographed wearing her looks recently include Lady Gaga, Zoë Kravitz, Demi Moore, Amal Clooney and Rosamund Pike.
LVMH Luxury Ventures was launched in 2017, and is an entity within the LVMH Group aimed at taking minority stakes in emerging, but already iconic, brands, with a view to create value. The size of the investment allocated to each company ranges from 2 million euros to 15 million euros per deal.
LVMH Luxury Ventures’ first investment was in the French apothecary brand L’Officine Universelle Buly. Its second was in Stadium Goods, which was subsequently acquired by Farfetch. Hearst marks its third deal.