Feb 26, 2024 - Economy

LVMH deepens Hollywood ties for media, entertainment deals

illustration of a popcorn basket in the shape of a Louis Vuitton bag

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

LVMH, the parent of Sephora, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Kenzo, TAG Heuer, Fenty Beauty and 60-plus other brands, has launched a new venture focused on media partnerships.

Why it matters: The luxury conglomerate wants more help from Hollywood types to bolster its brands.

LVMH calls its new venture 22 Montaigne Entertainment, named for the address of its Paris headquarters.

  • The company is working with U.S.-based production consultancy Superconnector Studios to co-develop and co-finance projects and product placement across TV, film and audio, per FT.

The big picture: Luxury brands have long benefitted from ties to celebrities and from on-screen cameos, but there's a growing race underway to cement relationships and access to talent.

  • François-Henri Pinault, the longtime CEO of archrival Gucci-owner Kering, bought a majority stake in talent agency giant CAA last September, reinforcing "the growing importance of celebrity in the luxury sector," the NYT wrote at the time.

Between the lines: It's all in the name of selling product.

  • For evidence of how media can power brands, and vice versa, look no further than Barbie.
  • Mattel's reverse Disney strategy — turning IP into content — couldn't have had a better start with "Barbie," which was the highest grossing movie worldwide last year.

Zoom out: Luxury retail's wealthiest consumers have continued to spend even as brands have raised prices.

  • Hermes, for example, beat Q4 earnings expectations as it bumped price tags up by 3%–7% globally last year. This year it plans to increase them by 8%–9%.
  • However, aspirational consumers — those more likely to stick to budgets, but who make up the core of luxury retail — have tightened their belts, hurting brands such as Hugo Boss, Ferragamo and Burberry.

What we're watching, literally: Luxury has made its way to screens in more direct ways recently, too. The history of Chanel and Dior's rivalry is currently being featured in the Apple TV+ series "The New Look."

  • "The House of Gucci," a film about the Gucci family, was polarizing, but spawned some nice memes and Halloween costumes in 2021.

What we're watching: Over the last year or so, "quiet luxury" — or minimal and invisible branding — became a big trend. How content creators work around or with this aesthetic will likely be a fun challenge.

Axios Pro's Michael Flaherty and Kimberly Chin contributed reporting.

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