The two firms said they have signed a comprehensive long-term agreement that makes Itochu the exclusive importer of Lanvin products, excluding perfumes, cosmetics and precious metals, into Japan and also Lanvin’s master licensee for production in Japan. Itochu will also acquire an equity in Lanvin under terms of the agreement, which positions the Japanese trading house as a “strategic partner” to expand businesses on a worldwide scale. Itochu’s equity share is expected to be less than 10 percent.
Initial plans call for importing Lanvin’s first line, Lanvin Paris, and producing its second line, Lanvin Collection, under license here. The two Lanvin brands are expected to enhance all Lanvin sales in Japan, the companies explained.
Itochu is lining up a production team of 13 makers that will produce 19 items, including men’s and women’s apparel, men’s bags, optical frames, men’s belts and accessories under sublicense from Itochu.
Sales will be mainly through directly operated shops, department and specialty stores. Itochu projected retail sales would reach $346 million (converted from yen at the current exchange rate) in five years. Lanvin, founded in 1890, is said to have a worldwide volume of about $460 million, of which half currently is from Japan.
Lanvin Japan, Lanvin’s wholly owned subsidiary based here, will take charge of image control of the brands and serve as conduit between Itochu and the French head office.
The Itochu-Lanvin collaboration represents another case of giant Japanese trading companies moving into the fashion market to increase their share of market and influence. It closely follows a deal in which Mitsui & Co. and Active Investments Fund acquired Hanae Mori’s trademark and licensing rights.