Stella McCartney Partners With LVMH, Named Sustainability Advisor

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Stella McCartney and models at her spring 2020 menswear presentation in Milan in June

McCartney and the rival to her former investor Kering have also "reached an agreement to further develop the Stella McCartney house," with specifics of the deal coming in September.

A passionate vegetarian and animal rights advocate like her mother Linda, Stella McCartney has long put her namesake business at the forefront of sustainable, ethical fashion at the luxury level. The company uses "fur-free fur," vegetarian leather and natural, sustainable materials such as wool and silk in its designs. Last year, McCartney announced a new charitable branch of the business (Stella McCartney Cares Green) focused on sustainability and public policy.

On Monday, McCartney’s London-based brand and the global luxury group LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton announced that they are teaming up, with McCartney "to hold a specific position and role on sustainability as special advisor to Mr. [Bernard] Arnault and the executive committee members," according to a press statement from LVMH, which further noted that the companies "have reached an agreement to further develop the Stella McCartney house."

Further financial details about the deal will not be disclosed until September, except that McCartney will continue as creative director and majority owner of her brand. Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH, said in a statement: "It is the beginning of a beautiful story together, and we are convinced of the great long-term potential of her House. A decisive factor was that she was the first to put sustainability and ethical issues on the front stage, very early on, and built her House around these constraints. It emphasizes LVMH Groups’ commitment to sustainability. LVMH was the first large company in France to create a sustainability department, more than 25 years ago, and Stella will help us further increase awareness on these important topics."

In March, McCartney announced that she would buy then-parent company Kering’s 50 percent share in her namesake fashion label to take back control of her brand. (The French luxury conglomerate’s stable of fashion labels includes Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen, and it had had a share in McCartney’s business since the time it was founded in 2001). The business move marks an alignment with Kering’s chief rival. Under LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s umbrella are Rihanna’s new Fenty label, as well as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Celine and Fendi (one of the last major luxury brands to still use fur, as featured in its fall 2019 couture show in Rome earlier this month).

In May, French president Emmanuel Macron tapped Kering CEO Francois-Henri Pinault (known for his leadership on sustainable business practices) to helm sustainability goals for a group of luxury brands ahead of the G7 summit in August in Biarritz, France. The partnership with McCartney is a coup for LVMH, which has also made efforts in the arena, launching its program LIFE (LVMH Initiatives for the Environment) in 2012 to improve energy efficiency, reduce its carbon footprint, support programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and more. 

McCartney added in the statement that, while approached by "various parties" since parting ways with Kering last year, "the passion and commitment [LVMH] expressed towards the Stella McCartney brand alongside their belief in the ambitions and our values as the global leader in sustainable luxury fashion was truly impressive."

McCartney’s spring 2020 menswear collection, shown in Milan last month, had the theme of "Forces for Nature" with models holding protest signs with phrases such as, "We are entirely free to live differently," inspired by Jonathan Safran’s forthcoming book We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast on global climate change. The collection, made of 60 percent sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton and recycled polyester, was also nature-friendly in appearance, blooming with floral prints and patterns of the Earth viewed by satellite.