LVMH Métiers d'Art invests in Italian leather specialists
LVMH Métiers d'Art is strengthening its position in Europe and gaining momentum. This division, which brings together the luxury giant's suppliers of exceptional raw materials, has announced two major investments in renowned Italian manufacturers. It has just bought the exotic leather tannery Ally Projects and acquired a stake in the high-end leather ready-to-wear manufacturer Robans.
This is a new step for LVMH Métiers d'Art, which was created by the luxury giant in 2015 "to protect and develop access for its fashion houses to excellent raw materials and know-how," by supporting its best suppliers over the long term. LVMH Métiers d’Art is present in key sectors for the very high-end, and is a shareholder in a dozen fashion manufactures, weighing nearly 500 million euros in revenue.
The acquisition of Ally Projects, renamed Heng Long Italy, will allow it to strengthen its expertise in exotic leather and gain efficiency. The company is located in Tuscany, in Santa Croce sull'Arno, in the leather district between Pisa and Florence. It has been supplying luxury houses with "exceptional crocodilian leather, with its expertise covering retanning, finishing and development." For several years it has been the European partner of Singapore-based Heng Long Tannery, one of the world's leading specialists in crocodile skin tanning, acquired by LVMH in 2011.
"With this operation, Heng Long will delegate to its Italian partner everything concerning creative development in exotic skins, which will be simpler than managing all this part from Singapore. Italy will therefore be central to respond as quickly as possible to our brands in the most sophisticated creations," explains Matteo de Rosa, LVMH Métiers d'Art’s general manager. As the group specifies in a statement, Heng Long Italy's agile structure is ideal for responding to short time frames and small batch orders ౼ a growing trend for many fashion houses.
Robans (formerly Roban's Produzione) was founded in 1989 and is also located in Tuscany. The manufacturer supplies the most prestigious luxury brands and is truly an expert in manufacturing leather garments for ready-to-wear and made-to-measure. Robans is active in pattern making, material research, prototyping, industrialization and production and works with all types of leather such as lambskin, calfskin, exotic, woolen skin, fur. The company has also recently acquired skills in textiles and technical fabrics.
Independent specialists under pressure
"Robans specializes in the manufacture of leather and leather and fabric garments. This is our first investment in clothing. LVMH Métiers d'Art is also present in the leather, crocodile, metal parts and silk sectors. Our objective is to support the key manufacturers in the market and the strategic production chain for the group," says de Rosa.
"We are facing a very high demand from our brands, while resources are less available due to the economic situation. After the pandemic followed by the war in Ukraine, then the energy crisis, many producers are at a disadvantage, hence the importance of Métiers d'Art’s support, which will intensify in the coming months at a global level with several investments," confides the manager, who joined LVMH in 2021.
Led by de Rosa and chaired by Jean Baptiste Voisin, LVMH's strategy director, this division has remained very discreet until now. Yet it relies on an extensive network of expertise, which has been built up over the past ten years from the purchase of the Heng Long tannery in 2011, followed by the Tanneries Roux in 2012, which is one of the last French tanneries specializing in the tanning of calf skins.
The sector then developed with the acquisition of stakes in the Spanish tannery Riba Guixà, which is a benchmark in the tanning of entrefino lamb skins, and then in the Italian tannery Masoni, which specializes in the tanning of calf skins, and which will celebrate its 20th anniversary in November with a major event in Florence.
LVMH Métiers d'Art has also invested in the production of metal parts, with a stake in the Italian manufacturer Renato Menegatti, and in GBJM, an exceptional Taiwanese innovation center for metal. Finally, partnerships have been formed at all levels of the silk industry. The Twinpix printing workshop, which is a pioneer in Europe in double-sided printing on silk, has been created in France, the group explains on its website.
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