EXCLUSIVE: LVMH’s stealth capture of Jean Patou
The giant French conglomerate took management control of Patou last year without any fanfare from Designer Parfums, a UK group based in Watford north of London, which is owned by Mehta business family.
Already on September 6, 2017, the board of Jean Patou appointed Sidney Toledano to be its new chairman, replacing Nikita Mehta, the 28-year-old daughter of Dilesh Mehta, the CEO and founder of Designer Parfums.
A LVMH board member, Toledano was at the time the CEO of Christian Dior. In January he became the President of LVMH Fashion Group, which controls a series of important fashion houses including Céline, Fendi, Givenchy, Pucci, Kenzo and Loewe.
Moreover, Jean Patou’s headquarters are now listed at 24 rue Jean Goujon, also the location of LVMH’s Fashion Group main headquarters. While Nikita Mehta is now listed on her LinkedIn page as a Project Assistant Manager for LVMH.
Spokespeople for LVMH and its Fashion Group both declined to comment on the acquisition. While Toledano did not respond to repeated calls.
However, Dilesh Mehta confirmed to FashionNetwork.com that Designer Parfums is close to inking a strategic partnership with LVMH, to split the ownership of the famed perfume house.
“I have signed an NDA and cannot say anything more. This should be completed in September. We believe that it’s vital for the future growth of Patou that we develop a fashion department, and nobody is really better at that than LVMH,” said Mehta.
The attractions of a brand like Patou are multiple to Bernard Arnault, the chairman and controlling shareholder of LVMH, whose perfume and beauty division already includes Christian Dior, Guerlain, Acqua di Parma, Make Up For Ever; the perfume businesses of its designer houses Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton and Kenzo, as well as the giant scent and beauty retailer Sephora.
A legendary perfume brand dating back to 1912, when founder Jean Patou opened his fashion house, before closing it during World War I, and reopening it after he returned from the front.
A true dandy who is credited with creating the first designer ties, Patou launched his perfume business with three scents in 1925. A noted innovator, his Huile de Chaldée is often referred to as the first suntan lotion. However, the best-known perfume of Patou, who died in 1936, is Joy, a rose and floral scent that was at one stage the costliest perfume in the world.
Moreover, Patou is a famous French label which has not been sullied by over-expansion in grey markets; and boasts a brilliant reputation. In 2000, the FIFI Awards, the Oscars of perfume, named Joy the “Scent of the Century,” beating out rival Chanel No. 5. The house of Patou also has a very credible fashion DNA, since such noted designers as Karl Lagerfeld, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix were all at different stages its designer.
Designer Parfums, which acquired Patou from Procter & Gamble in 2011, still controls a stable of perfumes including Frédéric Fekkai, Naomi Campbell, Jennifer Lopez, Parfums Scherrer, Worth, Porsche Design, Ghost and Manish Arora.
Back in 2013, Patou’s previous president Bruno Cottard revealed plans to reintroduce fashion, but this did not happen. Expect that to change pretty rapidly when the LVMH deal is completed.
This partnership will also complete a circle. Patou exited fashion when its then-couturier Christian Lacroix quit the brand to found his own house in 1987. The name of his backer? Bernard Arnault.
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