The Lanvin Group Is Born – With New Investors

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Fosun Fashion Group has a new name, Lanvin Group, and new investors who bring the valuation of the Chinese fashion conglomerate to more than $1 billion, WWD has learned.

Armed with more capital and industry expertise, the Shanghai-based firm plans to push further into Asia and the U.S., and continue building its portfolio of premium and luxury brands.

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“There’s a plan for every brand to come to China and grow,” Joann Cheng, chair of Lanvin Group, said in an interview. “We still have 90 percent of sales coming from overseas markets. China only accounts for 10 percent of fashion revenues.”

Its latest funding round raised about $150 million and brought on board two strategic investors — Japan’s Itochu Corp. and Chinese high-end footwear maker Stella International — as well as private equity firm Xizhi Capital.

Fine detail about the investments were not disclosed, but Cheng noted that Fosun International Ltd. remains the majority stakeholder.

The development follows news in April that Fosun had formed a strategic alliance with e-commerce firm Baozun, performance marketing company Activation Group and other industry players to strengthen its ability to capture China’s fast-growing demand for luxury brands. As a part of that partnership, Baozun and Activation both became minority shareholders, and the preferred partners for all brands in Lanvin Group’s portfolio.

All told, the two fundraising rounds have brought about $300 million into Lanvin Group, funds that will be earmarked for growing the five brands in its portfolio — Lanvin, Sergio Rossi, Wolford, St. John and Caruso — and its war chest for potential acquisitions.

“Our investment team is open to every opportunity,” Cheng said. “We keep looking for brands with a strong DNA and heritage. We’re also open to new brands, given the fast pace of the industry.”

She said Lanvin Group intends to focus on the premium and luxury markets, but mentioned that leather accessories and fashion tech are among the categories of particular interest.

The group has so far collected companies with strong savoir-faire and integrated factories. When it snapped up Sergio Rossi in June, Cheng noted it would leverage that company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing for some Lanvin Group brands and for collaborations.

Cheng said Hong Kong-based Stella International, which specializes in sportier footwear, manufacturing for brands including Off-White, Prada, Balmain and Balenciaga, would offer Lanvin Group its “industrial expertise” as a strategic partner, and help it develop capsules of sneakers for some of its brands, for example.

“Most of our manufacturing is based in Europe, and we are now looking globally for the best manufacturing partners,” Cheng noted over a Zoom call.

Meanwhile, Itochu is to help Lanvin Group brands penetrate the Japanese market. At present, Sergio Rossi has the strongest foothold in the island nation, with two flagship boutiques, five outlets and 15 shops-in-shop.

Itochu is a historic partner of Lanvin, having owned and operated the brand in Japan since 2004. It also launched the Lanvin en Bleu collection for the Japanese market. But there are no Lanvin boutiques in Japan — a Tokyo location closed in 2019 — and only wholesale distribution for Caruso and Wolford.

Cheng noted that Irvine, Calif.-based St. John is not yet present in Japan, but has potential with its “classic knitwear for professional women. It’s an interesting brand for the Japanese market.”

Itochu was founded in 1858 and is the third largest trading company in Japan. It has the license for Paul Smith, Laura Ashley, Converse, Vivienne Westwood and others.

It is understood Itochu can help Lanvin Group to find prime retail locations and sourcing partners.

Cheng described vast opportunities for Lanvin Group brands to expand their retail footprint geographically — particularly in emerging and established Asian markets and the United States, while continuing to strengthen their presence in Europe — and to optimize digital and an omnichannel approach. Launching new product categories is another growth avenue, she said, floating Lanvin beauty products as a future extension for the historic French fashion house, founded in 1889.

Over the past 15 months, the group opened 25 stores globally, 19 of which are in Greater China. Most of the boutiques are for Lanvin, while Caruso just christened its first Shanghai location earlier this month.

The group is in the process of “adapting store locations for all brands,” Cheng noted. For example, it recently shuttered an underperforming St. John store in Hawaii, and Lanvin combined its men’s and women’s boutiques into one Madison Avenue location in New York City.

The five Lanvin Group brands span some 200 retail stores and 1,000 points of sale in more than 60 countries, according to company tallies.

While declining to discuss figures, Cheng trumpeted the resilience of its brands through the pandemic and flagged triple-digit growth for Lanvin and Wolford in China over the past 12 months.

“We feel the momentum. This is one of the reasons we decided to rethink the group and call it Lanvin Group,” she said.

Lanvin Group’s other strategic partners include K11, the lifestyle brand and operator of luxury shopping malls, and Neo-Concept Group, an apparel manufacturer with a sustainable bent.

“Leveraging the best-in-class resources of its alliance partners, Lanvin Group has strengthened product development and manufacturing operations across the portfolio, and advanced digital and e-commerce capabilities of its portfolio brands,” the group said in a statement.

Fosun International Ltd., which is active in the health, property and mining sectors, established its fashion group in 2017 to seize on fizzy demand for luxury goods, acquiring Lanvin one year later.

“Fosun has consistently capitalized on high-growth sectors and has a successful track record in creating consumer-driven ecosystems,” said Guo Guangchang, chair and cofounder of Fosun International Ltd., asserting that Lanvin Group “is well positioned to exploit the resilient demand for luxury goods globally, especially in China.”

SEE ALSO:

China’s Own Mega League: Fosun Fashion Group Ties With Baozun and Activation

Lanvin’s Chinese Parent Is the New Owner of Sergio Rossi

Fosun Fashion Group Further Commits to Caruso’s Post-pandemic Growth

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