Late last week when LVMH announced that it had taken a controlling stake in the business of young British shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood, a good portion of the buzz surrounding the sale centered on which other young company might be next. Even before that sale, rumors flew about LVMH and British ready-to-wear and menswear brand JW Anderson, and now those rumors have come to fruition. Not only does LVMH now own a minority stake in the brand itself, but founder/designer John Anderson will be taking over the creative helm at LVMH-owned Loewe.
Yesterday’s announcement of the simultaneous moves helps bring into focus some of the last bits of a game of designer musical chairs that started when Reed Krakoff left Coach months ago. Emma Hill then left Mulberry, and speculation was rampant that either she would go to Coach, or Marc Jacobs would leave Louis Vuitton at the end of his contract and move on to the American contemporary giant. None of that came to fruition; instead, Stuart Vevers left Loewe out of the blue to take the Coach helm, and although no one knows when he’ll actually start at Coach (or when Krakoff will make his exit final), that left Loewe without a designer. With the brand’s recent momentum, it seemed likely that LVMH wouldn’t want to let Loewe linger without a creative director for long, and sure enough, here comes Anderson to take that spot.
JW Anderson first rose to prominence for his menswear, and as his profile expanded, so did his brand, specifically to women’s wear. Considering his story and background, his aesthetic is approximately what you’d expect – very modern and often a bit sporty, with a note of British traditionalism peeking out every one in a while. Much of it (expect perhaps the men’s shift dresses) is very wearable and fits well with the industry’s current interest in streetwear, but with a more thoughtful finish. It will be interesting to see what kind of marriage it’ll be between the young Londoner and the old Spanish leather goods brand in particular. Here’s hoping that an influx of LVMH money also expands Anderson’s eponymous brand to include handbags is well.
To both invest in JW Anderson and appoint him the head of one of its brands, LVMH must see quite the future for John Anderson. It’s the same kind of setup the conglomerate bestowed upon Marc Jacobs over a decade ago.