THE 10 OLDEST LUXURY BRANDS STILL IN OPERATION

Plenty of high-end fashion houses have entered the market in the last few decades. And while some have since left the stage, there are a handful of fashion houses that have a long history and heritage. We’ve compiled a list of the Top 10.

10. YVES SAINT LAURENT

Founded in 1961 by Yves Saint Laurent, the French luxury fashion house is in tenth place on our list of the world’s oldest luxury brands. Only five years after launching his brand, Yves Saint Laurent introduced his famous ‘le Smoking’. Other iconic items include the sheer blouse and the jumpsuit.

YSL was recently renamed Saint Laurent and is now owned by Kering. Its creative director is Anthony Vaccarello. The brand markets women and men’s ready-to-wear products, leather goods, shoes, and jewelry.

9. VALENTINO

For ninth place we are travelling to Rome, Italy, where fashion house Valentino was founded in 1960 by Valentino Garavani. The luxury brand quickly earned a reputation for its red dresses – in a shade that would become known as Valentino Red. Valentino made his international debut in 1962 and his clientele included many famous artists and members of the elite. Alongside his red dresses, Valentino’s Rockstud shoes and studded bags also achieved iconic status over the time.

Valentino is a part of the Valentino Fashion Group and is headquartered in Milan. Pier Paolo Piccioli has been its creative director since October 2008. The brand markets women’s haute couture and ready-to-wear products, leather goods, watches and jewelry.

8. GIVENCHY

The French luxury fashion and perfume house Givenchy occupies eighth place on our list of the world’s oldest luxury brands. Founded in 1952 by designer Hubert de Givenchy, the brand is a member of Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture et du Pret-a-Porter.

Givenchy focuses on cool fashion with a chic vibe. The Bettina blouse is iconic, as is the Nightingale bag, the Pandora bag, the Antigona bag and the Rottweiler print. Ricardo Tisci has been Givenchy’s creative director since 2005. The brand markets haute couture clothing, accessories, perfumes and cosmetics.

7. DIOR

Dior made it to seventh place in our ranking. The French luxury goods company was founded in 1946 by Christian Dior. With his first collection, the iconic French designer introduced the world to the New Look: a very feminine line, with a narrow waist and knee-length skirts. The brand is famous for its iconic handbags like the Lady Dior.

The House of Dior is controlled and chaired by French businessman Bernard Arnault, who also heads the world’s largest luxury group LVMH. Its creative director is Maria Grazia Chiuri. The company designs and retails haute couture, ready-to-wear, leather goods, fashion accessories, footwear, jewelry, timepieces, fragrances, make-up and skincare products.

6. NINA RICCI

The haute couture house of Nina Ricci ranks sixth on our list and was founded in 1932 by Maria Nina Ricci and her son Robert in Paris. The brand’s designs are very simplistic, yet very feminine, refined and romantic. Nina Ricci’s name is most well-known for iconic perfumes like L’air du Temps.

Today, the brand’s fashion empire is owned by Spanish beauty and fashion group Puig. With its creative director Guillaume Henry, the luxury brand markets fashion, cosmetics and perfumes.

5. PRADA

Prada is ranked fifth in our list of the world’s oldest luxury brands. Mario Prada founded the house of Prada in 1913 and started his business by only selling leather goods. He originally sold English leather goods, before the brand started to produce its own leather items made from the iconic Saffiano material.

The house of Prada is known today for iconic pieces like the Saffiano Lux tote and the Nylon backpack. Besides leather goods, the Italian luxury brand specializes in travel accessories, shoes, ready-to-wear, perfumes and accessories.

4. CHANEL

Chanel made it to fourth place in our ranking. The French luxury brand was founded by Gabrielle Coco Chanel in 1909. She started her business with hat making, but soon branched out into making comfortable clothing for women – a real revolution at the time. In fact, all of Chanel’s designs were revolutionary and timeless. The most iconic items are the Chanel Classic Flap bag and the Chanel tweed jacket.

Chanel is privately owned today by Alain and Gérard Wertheimer, the grandsons of Pierre Wertheimer, who was an early business partner of Gabrielle Chanel. The high fashion house specializes in haute couture and ready-to-wear products, luxury goods and fashion accessories.

3. LANVIN

Lanvin is a French high fashion house that was founded by Jeanne Lanvin in 1889, meaning it places third in our ranking. In the beginning, Lanvin mainly produced dresses for mothers and daughters. After a while, menswear, lingerie and fur were added to the collection. Lanvin was the first fashion house where the entire family could shop.

Since 2001, Shaw-Lan Wang, a Taiwanese media magnate, owns the high fashion brand. Its creative director is Bouchra Jarrar. The brand markets women and men’s apparel, accessories, perfumes and jewelry.

2. LOUIS VUITTON

Louis Vuitton ranks second place in our list of the world’s oldest luxury brands. The French fashion house was founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton. The French designer started his business with trunks made from canvas bearing the brand’s iconic monogram print. After a while, he introduced the first Louis Vuitton bag, a big weekend bag called the Keepall. Soon after, he released a smaller version of the Keepall: the iconic Speedy. Many famous bags followed, such as the Alma and the Neverfull.

Louis Vuitton is owned by the world’s largest luxury group LVMH. Its creative director is Nicolas Ghesquiere. The label’s LV monogram appears on most of its products, ranging from luxury trunks and leather goods to ready-to-wear, shoes, watches, jewelry and accessories.

1. HERMÈS

And the winner is... Hermès! The French fashion house is the world’s oldest luxury brand still in operation today. It was established in 1837 by Thierry Hermès. The designer originally produced saddles and other equestrian supplies. The first unofficial Hermès bag, which was purely designed as an addition to their riding supplies, was advertised for carrying saddles. Many bags followed, with the exclusive Kelly and Birkin bags being their most successful and iconic products.

Hermès is famous for its logo featuring a Duc carriage and horse. Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski is the brand’s creative director. The luxury fashion brand specializes in leather, lifestyle accessories, home furnishings, perfumery, jewelry, watches and ready-to-wear.

Behind the scenes: 50 years in fashion logistics

Fashion is the definition of a fast-moving industry. Lead times, accuracy, availability and reliability are all of critical importance. Supply chains are long and complex – a result of moving manufacturing to lower-cost countries. Through more than 50 years as a logistics partner to the fashion industry, DHL has provided the speedy response, excellent quality and convenient delivery this business demands, which is especially important in the era of multiple sales channels and online retail.

The Fashion Retailer Luxury and Fashion Corporations

The Fashion Luxury Industry, like other industries, has seen the rise of big corporations such as LVMH or Kering. Some luxury goods conglomerates are more diversified than others. LVMH portfolio, for example, includes high-end brands in the categories of wines & spirits, fashion & leather goods, perfumes & cosmetics, watches & jewelry, selective retailing (e.g. Sephora) and other activities (e.g. Radio Classique, Le Parisien).

Luxury and M&A

On the one hand, niche brands from the Long Tail and sustainable brands are competing to legacy players with a different value proposition and also from an online strategy approach.

On the other hand, Gucci, Hermés, Prada, Chanel or Zegna are acquiring some of their suppliers to ensure supply of merino wool, crocodile or python. Companies are investing in every phase of the value chain (raw materials, farms, suppliers) but also in other retailers thru acquisitions. Even family-owned companies like Ermenegildo Zegna invested in another emerging retailer, Thom Browne. On the other hand,

Why corporations or luxury fashion conglomerates? In a volatile economy, having the know-how of a specific industry is a key lever when diversifying in the same segment. Luxury is a clear example of how brands can take profit of being part of a conglomerate and take advantage from economies of scale, centralization of capabilities (e.g. purchasing power, technology, advertising), access to an exclusive network of suppliers, access to capital, access to professional talent, amongst others. The bigger the corporation is, the more control of competitive advantages in a specific industry will have.

But corporations are not always perfect marriages. Some have established cash cows and startups in their portfolio and having to deal different business models and different growth rates and business needs is not easy. In 2018, while Puma and Stella McCartney exited Kering group, Coach acquired Kate Spade and Michael Kors did so with Jimmy Choo.

These are the most important fashion corporations in the fashion and luxury industry:

LVMH: LVMH Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy is a french multinational luxury conglomerate formed in 1987. It is the only group present in all five major sectors of the luxury market: Wines & Spirits, Fashion & Leather Goods, Perfumes & Cosmetics, Watches & Jewelry and Selective Retailing. LVMH currently employs 156,000 people across the world and reported sales of 46.8 billion euros in 2018. It´s current president and CEO is Bernard Arnault. See complete 2018 consolidated financial statement here.

LVMH Fashion brands: Berluti, Celine, Christian Dior, Emilio Pucci, Fendi, Givenchy, Kenzo, Loewe, Loro Piana, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Moynat, Nicholas Kirkwood, Pink Shirtmaker, RIMOWA. In July 2019, Stella McCartney and LVMH have reached an agreement to further develop the Stella McCartney House.

LVMH Revenues by business group

KERING: In 1963, François Pinault founds Établissements Pinault, a timber trading company, in Rennes (France). The group’s first strategic move comes in 1990 with its diversification into specialized retail distribution. Its focus will then shift to the luxury industry in the late 1990s. After acquiring Le Printemps and an equity stake in La Redoute, it becomes Pinault Printemps Redoute in 1994, PPR in 2005 and Kering in 2013. Kering is a global Luxury group composed of iconic and dynamic Houses in Fashion, Leather Goods, Jewelry and Watches. In 2018, the Group achieved revenues of €13.7 billion with a EBITDA margin of 32,5%. See Group Key Figures here.

KERING Fashion Brands: Alexander McQueen, Brioni, Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Saint Lauren.

Kering brand portfolio

Richemont: Switzerland-based luxury goods holding company founded in 1988 by South African businessman Johann Rupert. Richemont owns several of the world’s leading companies in the field of luxury goods, with particular strengths in jewellery, watches and writing instruments. In 2010, Richemont acquired the majority of the shares of NET-A-PORTER.COM, the premier online luxury fashion retailer that merged with YOOX Group in 2015. In 2018, Richemont achieved revenues of €10.9 billion with an operating profit of €1,8 billion.

Richemont fashion brands: Peter Millar, Chloé, Purdey, Alaïa, Serapian and Dunhill.

Prada Group: is an Italian luxury fashion house, specializing in leather handbags, travel accessories, shoes, ready-to-wear, perfumes and other fashion accessories, founded in 1913 by Mario Prada. Today, Miuccia Prada is head of Design and Patrizio Bertelli is the CEO. Prada Group achieved revenues of €3 billion in 2017, an EBIT margin of 11,8% with 625 DOS in 70 countries.

Prada fashion brands: Prada, Miu Miu, Car Shoe and Church´s.

Prada Group

OTB: OTB is an international fashion group, the parent company of fashion brands Diesel, Maison Margiela, Paula Cademartori, Marni, Viktor & Rolf, Brave Kid and Staff International. The brand is chaired by Diesel founder Renzo Rosso. In 2017, OTB achieved revenues of 1.52 billion euro and EBIT of 21.5 million euros.

AEFFE: Italian luxury group created in 1988 by Alberta Ferretti. In 2018 achieved revenues of €346,6 million and EBITDA of €43,3 million.

AEFFE brands include Alberta Ferreti, Moschino, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini and Pollini.

PVH: PVH Corp., formerly known as the Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, is an American clothing company founded in 1881. Today, is one of the largest global apparel companies with nearly $9 billion in revenues and an EBIT of 632 millions in 2017. See Annual Report here.

PVH Brands are Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen, IZOD, ARROW, Speedo, Warner´s, Olga, Geoffrey Beene and True&Co.

Arcadia Group: is a British multinational retailing company headquartered in London and owned by Taveta Investments. Their story began in the early 1900s when 18-year-old Lithuanian émigré Montague Burton established a chain of Burton stores selling ready-to-wear and bespoke suits. In 2017, Arcadia Group achieved revenues of £1,9 billion and EBIT of £119,3 M.

Arcadia fashion brands: Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Topman, Topshop and Wallis.

VF Corporation: In October 1899, the company is first established in Pennsylvania as the Reading Glove and Mitten Manufacturing Company by John Barbey and a group of investors. Today VF is an American worldwide apparel and footwear company with more than 25 brands organized into four categories: outdoor, active, work and jeans. In 2017, achieved revenues of $11,8 billion and EBIT margin of 12,7%. See annual report here.

VF brands: Altra, Icebreaker, Eastpak, Smartwool, JanSport, The North Face, Timberland, Eagle Creek, Kipling, Napapijri, Vans, Bulwark, Dickies, Horace Small, Kodiak, Red Kap, Terra, Walls, Workrite, VF Solutions, Lee, Riders by Lee, Rock & Republic, Wrangler.

VF Corporation

Fashion at Home: Luxury Fashion Brands Are Branching into Design — CoutureNotebook

Miu Miu

As part of FuoriSalone 2019, held during Milan Design Week, Miu Miu staged a theatrical-style presentation at the Teatro Gerolamo based around a single item of furniture. The limited-edition ‘MIU MIU/MATCHING COLORSTOOL’ is a collaboration with creative design agency M/M Paris and explores the potential of furniture personalization. Made of linden wood, the three-legged stool doubles up as a possible board game and a canvas for self-expression as each leg is punctured with perforations into which pegs can be fitted—the 300 oversized matchsticks come in 12 different colours ensuring a constantly changing look and no two pieces are likely to ever be the same. Highlighting the "theatrical potential" of the seat, Miu Miu lined the Teatro’s auditorium’s perimeter with dozens of the design, while also stacking them high on the stage. The stool will only be produced in a limited edition of 300.

Maryan Barbara
Maryan Barbara

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