Luxury and cinema. Why Saint Laurent and LVMH want to run production companies

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Theatrical poster for “Strange Way of Life” by Pedro Almodóvar. Photo by Saint Laurent Productions

Three movies created by Saint Laurent are taking part in the 77th Cannes Film Festival at once. Of course, we are talking not about the fashion house itself but about Saint Laurent Productions. This company was established in April 2023, setting a new trend in the sphere of haute couture: many big luxury brands have started to interact with the entertainment business and enter this market. Kursiv has tried to find out what the business strategy of luxury brands in the sphere of cinema and television looks like and why they are doing this.

Saint Laurent

Backstory. In 2019, “Lux Æterna,” a psychedelic mockumentary by Gaspar Noé, debuted out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival. «Have you ever been burned at the stake?” Béatrice Dalle’s character asks a character of Charlotte Gainsbourg as they discuss witches on the stage of a movie about witches. In the end, the main characters of the film were set on fire, wearing dresses from Saint Laurent; we can see the name of the fashion house in the opening credits of the film. Some media outlets reported that was an idea of Antony Vaccarello, creative director of the brand, who offered Noé financial support for the short film.

Establishment of Saint Laurent Productions. Last year, Saint Laurent became the first fashion house to establish its own production company. At the time, the company announced joint projects with Paolo Sorrentino and David Cronenberg. “These directors never fail to open my mind and, in a way, the singular, radical vision they bring to cinema has made me the person I am today,» Vaccarello said in one of his interviews, promising to stay involved in the movie production and create costumes and accessories for them. However, WWD, a modern bible of the world of fashion, rushed to calm down fans of Sorrentino, Almodóvar, Cronenberg and other directors by saying that although movies by Saint Laurent will expand awareness of the brand and its aesthetic, they won’t be fashion films and of course, this is a business project.

Their debut film “Strange Way of Life,” a short film by Pedro Almodóvar about true male friendship proves this statement.


Three films by Saint Laurent Productions – Emilia Perez by Jacques Audiard with Zoe Saldana and Selene Gomez; The Shrouds by David Cronenberg with Vincent Cassel and Parthenope by Paolo Sorrentino are going to compete for the award of the Cannes Film Festival this year. And none of them is about fashion.

Artémis (a company of François-Henri Pinault, the owner of Kering)

Backstory. In continuation of the witch topic. «Balenciaga!» This is what Myrtle Snow shouts in the third season of “American Horror Story” even though she wasn’t wearing Balenciaga and this fashion house has nothing to do with this TV series. it’s only indirectly a source of inspiration. A different case is “Cristóbal Balenciaga,” a television miniseries financed by Disney +. During the project, the filmmakers obtained access to archives and a chance to restore masterpieces of the maître.

Cristóbal Balenciaga. Photo: Disney

The majority stake in Creative Artists Agency (CAA). In September 2023, Artémis, an investment company controlled by the Pinault family, owners of the Kering holding, revealed the purchase of a majority stake in Creative Artists Agency (CAA). In fact, this is a continuation of the Saint Laurent story as the Parisian fashion house is part of the Kering corporation. It seems that the Pinault family has decided to not just produce movies but also to present those who create movies – actors, directors, musicians and other talented creative people. Moreover, CAA has interests not only in the film industry and television but also in music and sports.

«We are looking forward to seeing the moment when we can support the agency in its brilliant work,» said François-Henri Pinault, head of Artémis. Now, the investment group controls not only the Kering luxury conglomerate (including brands such as Saint Laurent, Gucci and Balenciaga), the Christie’s auction house, one of the biggest private art collections in the world Pinault Collection but a perspective collection of talents CAA.


Backstory. The LVMH holding has been successfully cooperating with various studios for years. Despite all the glamour of the 200-year-old brand, movies that show its famous suitcases and other products often have nothing do to with glamour. “The Darjeeling Limited” by Wes Anderson is one example. Throughout the film, we see strange brothers carrying different suitcases and bags made by Louis Vuitton everywhere. They get rid of the bags only at the end of the movie. Even though many critics weren’t happy with this version of the spiritual transformation of the main characters, the vast majority of viewers liked it. “The New Look” TV series about Christian Dior, was created with full support from the fashion house (part of LVMH). It provided filmmakers and costume designers with access to archives and helped with choosing the best fabrics.

The Darjeeling Limited

22 Montaigne Entertainment. In February 2024, the luxury brand announced the launch of 22 Montaigne Entertainment to promote 75 fashion houses under LVMH in movies and television. Remembering the wisdom of better going to the mountains with an alpine instructor, LVMH is working on this project in conjunction with Superconnect.

According to Anish Melwani, chairman and CEO of LVMH North America, the history of fashion houses is something to show, not just to talk about. This is why the company is going to continue using premium entertainment as a tool to deliver these stories to its customers.

However, a week later, Business of Fashion published an article called «The Real Reasons LVMH Is Embracing Entertainment,» where its author Marc Bain speculates that the luxury brand doesn’t just want to make a profit on an audience longing for brand stories like Barbie or Nike but uses this strategy as a plan to survive in the age when traditional forms of advertising are no longer efficient.

As Melwani noted, many people prefer to consume entertainment via streaming services and those who have money would pay more to just avoid annoying advertising. This means that consumers would pay an additional fee in order to not see ads for Dior, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Guerlain, Celine, Loewe, Kenzo, Fendi, Emilio Pucci, Marc Jacobs, Berluti, Loro Piana, Patou and other brands. This is why all aforementioned brands are going to be full-fledged participants in movies and TV series themselves. And LVMH has one great advantage: almost all its brands have rich backgrounds. These stories aren’t only about fashion but about many other interesting things as we can see in the “Christian Dior” series. Just imagine what kind of stories filmmakers might find in the archives of Tiffany, Patou or Dom Perignon.

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