Rihanna’s empire expands with a new high-fashion brand

As rumored since January, Rihanna is launching her own fashion house.

The new brand is called Fenty — produced under the umbrella of the famed luxury goods conglomerate LVMH — and its first collection of ready-to-wear, shoes, accessories, and jewelry will be shown in Paris later this month, Business of Fashion reports. In a statement, Rihanna said that LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault has placed “no artistic limits” on the line.

When rumors of the partnership kicked up earlier this year, Vox’s Nadra Nittle explained the significance of the possibility, writing, “Rihanna stands to become the first black woman designer at LVMH. From Kanye West to Jessica Simpson — fashion is rife with rappers, singers, actors, and reality stars with their own lines at department stores and the like. But having a luxury fashion house in one’s honor has been off limits to most celebrities.” This is also the first new fashion brand LVMH has launched since 1987, when Christian Lacroix founded his haute couture house.

According to the Business of Fashion, Rihanna will be a 49.99 percent shareholder in the new label. LVMH has put up over $30 million in cash to fund the venture, while her contribution will be her time, her name, and the value of her personal brand. In other words: The basic idea and general presence of Rihanna is worth more than $30 million.

That might sound extreme, but it’s backed up by her track record. Rihanna has 70 million Instagram followers, a reputation as the reigning champ of Vogue’s annual Met Gala (even in absentia), and she’s already launched plenty of successful products. Her Fenty Beauty line was backed by LVMH’s beauty incubator Kendo, debuted with 40 foundation shades, and reportedly brought in more than $550 million in its first year of business and strong-armed the entire industry into taking diversity seriously.

Her Fenty X Puma sneaker and slide collections — discontinued in spring 2018, presumably because Puma is owned by LVMH rival Kering — was credited with a 23 percent growth in footwear sales for the company. She also spent four years as creative director at Puma, kicking off a still-going trend of making streetwear and athletic apparel more accessible to women. Most recently, her Savage X Fenty lingerie line has been lauded as nothing less than the future of inclusivity in fashion.

Her Instagram post confirming Fenty was “Liked” 300,000 times within an hour of posting, and the official Instagram account for the new luxury house went from zero to 81,000 followers in the same time — without posting anything at all.