Lately, we've been hearing about buzzy younger designers getting investments from big French luxury conglomerates. In September, for example, Kering invested in Christopher Kane and LVMH took a minority stake in JW Anderson.
However, Kering's latest investment is in an older, more quietly established designer: Tomas Maier, who is also the creative director of Kering-owned ready-to-wear and accessories label Bottega Veneta.
The investment is billed as a "partnership," through which Maier and Kering will develop Maier's brand together. Currently, it has two stores -- one in Palm Beach and the other in East Hampton -- and sells to luxury department stores. It's known for swimwear (hence the seaside locations), knits and jersey.
A press release of course uses ubiquitous buzzword "lifestyle" to describe how the company will expand.
“I am excited to enter into this new chapter for the Tomas Maier brand in parallel with my role at Bottega Veneta," Maier said in a statement. "I could not imagine a better partner than Kering for the Tomas Maier brand. We speak the same language and have a mutual understanding of how to take this business we started 15 years ago to new heights.”
We can't help but wonder if Kering's decision to invest in Maier had anything to do with keeping the designer at Bottega Veneta. Over the past few years, the brand's revenues have climbed significantly, making it Kering's second-biggest luxury property (in terms of sales) after Gucci.