What Happened: Phoebe Philo has announced her coveted return to fashion. The lauded designer will open an independent house in her name backed by LVMH. As of yet, the size of the French luxury conglomerate’s minority stake and the financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. The virtuoso designer had been keeping a low profile since she exited Céline at the end of 2017. While the news of her comeback did not break the Chinese internet, it is receiving a considerable amount of online attention, especially from major media outlets and fashion KOLs like Anny Fan and Dipsy.
The Jing Take: On the whole, Chinese consumers tend to follow brands instead of designers. However, having said that, in fashion circles Philo is often considered the exception. Indeed, this may well explain the current success enjoyed by the new iteration of Bottega Veneta (Daniel Lee worked for her previously). Still, three years is a considerable absence in such a competitive market and this comeback is especially timely for Philo to maintain her relevance among China’s industry insiders.
If she wishes to extend beyond her bubble and reach the country’s young fashion addicts — many of whom may be unaware of her reputation — that will take more effort. Without adopting a digital approach in the Mainland, her desire to be “back in touch” with audiences will be impossible; a fact LVMH is no doubt well aware of. Even so, the pioneer of minimalism has much untapped potential in China’s vast luxury market — no doubt her backers know this as well.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.