Firing on all Cylinders
- Kering reports first-quarter results on April 21
- Gucci, the conglomerate’s biggest brand, is growing rapidly again after hitting a rough patch
- Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, McQueen and Balenciaga have all performed strongly in recent quarters
Now that Gucci’s back on track, Kering’s other brands are likely to come into focus when the company releases first-quarter results this week. Kering appears to have pulled off its plan to switch out designers at Bottega Veneta without rocking the boat too much. If anything, Matthieu Blazy’s first show in February amped up expectations, pointing to an evolution that preserves the brand’s underlying ethos while taking it in a direction that appeals to a broader range of customers. That’s crucial for Bottega; its 25 percent growth last year would be the envy of many brands but was a bit ho-hum by the standards of global luxury giants. There are also high expectations for Saint Laurent, which has quietly been Kering’s most successful label during the pandemic and is also coming off a well-regarded show in Paris.
The Bottom Line: On a more macro level, Kering should be able to provide further clarity on how China’s lockdowns and the war in Ukraine are affecting the global luxury business. Last week, LVMH brushed aside concerns about China, saying any negative impact on sales would be temporary.
Fashion’s Documentary Boom
- Netflix will release “White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch” on April 19
- Fashion documentaries and lightly fictionalised series are having a moment as streaming services mine viewers’ niche interests
As a problematic fave of the Y2K era, it was inevitable that Abercrombie & Fitch would get streaming documentary treatment. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and the rest have been churning out docs and based-on-a-true-story drama series. Fashion frequently gets this treatment, with recent series chronicling Lularoe, Halston and Von Dutch and more to come, including Apple TV’s much anticipated “The Supermodels.”
Judging from advance reviews, “White Hot” falls closer to the “Tiger King” end of the spectrum. Abercrombie achieved its early-aughts dominance in spite of (or perhaps, on some level, because of) an ever-growing string of controversies, from racist merchandise to discriminatory hiring practices to allegations of sexual misconduct on photo shoots. The scandals accelerated the brand’s fall, as a corporate culture that was unwilling to address its own failings was also unable to sense that the culture was leaving A&F behind.
The Bottom Line: Early reviews indicate the documentary gives short shrift to A&F’s recent revival. It’s admittedly a less salacious story, though a good one (you can read all about it in BoF’s case study on the turnaround).
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