French Fashion house Givenchy turns gaze to Asia

Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:52am EST
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By Charmian Kok

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The French fashion house synonymous with Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast At Tiffany's is eyeing Asia as its next big growth market, spurred by the rapidly rising incomes of the region's nouveau riche.

Fifty-nine-year old label Givenchy, which is part of the world's largest luxury group LVMH, plans to open ten new stores across Asia this year, six of which will be in China, Fabrizio Malverdi, Givenchy's chief executive officer told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

Givenchy is best known for dressing celebrities such as film star Audrey Hepburn and the late Jackie Kennedy Onassis in classic styles.

Today, under the helm of chief designer Riccardo Tisci, the fashion house is more associated with a modern and feminine twist, often with gothic touches.

In addition to its womenswear collections, Givenchy also designs haute couture, menswear, accessories and perfumes.

"Asia is playing a bigger role in fashion. It is really linked to the economic movement that's really positive for the whole Asian market," Malverdi said.

China's appetite for luxury goods fueled a record year for sales and profits at LVMH, underscoring Asia's growing importance for the fashion industry. It reported global profit from recurring operations last year rose 29 percent to 4.32 billion euros ($5.91 billion).

Asia accounted for about 34 percent of LVMH's sales last year, making it the company's largest market along with Europe, which also accounted for 34 percent.   Continued...