London—LVMH, the world’s largest luxurygoods conglomerate, once again is looking to build up-and-coming designer brands. Today, the company announced it struck a “long-term” partnership with British footwear designer Nicholas Kirkwood to “further develop his vision and help him build his brand internationally.”
Under the terms of this agreement, LVMH will provide its expertise to Nicholas Kirkwood and own a majority stake in the company for an undisclosed sum.
Kirkwood, 33, became this year the first accessories designer to be awarded the British Fashion Council/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund. He studied fine art at Central Saint Martins and later learned the craft of shoemaking at the renowned Cordwainers College. He founded his eponymous shoe brand in 2004 and together with his business partner, Christopher Suarez, gained the attention of press and buyers around the world for his signature sculptural shoes.
His collections are currently distributed in 150 leading department and specialty stores around the world as well as three flagship stores in London, New York and Las Vegas.
‘Same Vision, Same Beliefs’
“Nicholas’ talent for shoe design is exceptional and I am especially impressed with his commitment to innovation and craftsmanship. Throughout our meetings, I was particularly struck by his entrepreneurship and we discovered rapidly that we shared the same vision and beliefs. We want to allow him to further explore the boundaries of his creativity while the brand will benefit from LVMH’s expertise” said Delphine Arnault, executive vice president at LVMH and daughter of its chairman Bernard Arnault.
Kirkwood will become part of LVMH Fashion Group which consists of brands such as Céline, Givenchy, Loewe, Marc Jacobs, Kenzo and Emilio Pucci. Suarez is expected to continue as Kirkwood’s chief executive.
In a statement, LVMH said, “This acquisition affirms the ongoing commitment of LVMH to nurture talent and creativity, considered as the heart of any success in the industry in which they are leaders.” Earlier this year, for instance, LVMH took a minority stake in Maxime Simoens, a French brand.
“From my first meeting with Delphine Arnault and Pierre-Yves Roussel of LVMH, it was clear that LVMH would be the best partner for our brand as we have the same values of design, creativity, and craftsmanship. I look forward to us working together to achieve our long term vision for the brand,” Kirkwood said.
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