The LVMH CEO is cautious and skeptical. Kering’s CEO, on the other hand, sees the metaverse as an opportunity that can generate profit. It is no coincidence that his group has already activated a specialised team. Therefore, the new prairie is causing discussion and creating an accurate distance between the two major players in the fashion and luxury industry. At least for now…
Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, and François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, have divergent ideas on the new immaterial prairie where everyone (or almost everyone) is diving. They are divided on much, if not everything (or almost). Divided (or almost), fatally, also on the metaverse. A total distance based on pictures that, given the weight of the two actors on stage, must be taken into account.
The accurate distance between Arnault and Pinault
LVMH boss Bernard Arnault has a cautious approach with a hint of skepticism. His statements have a message: ‘Metaverse: show me what you can do to get my attention”. After all, LVMH doesn’t need a virtual environment to earn a few extra euros. “We are not interested in selling virtual trainers for 10 euros,’ was his ‘tranch’ comment. He fears it might be a bubble, referring to when everyone wanted to become Facebook, but only one made it.
“We are in the real world, and we sell real products,” reiterated the transalpine billionaire, who also sniffed at a problem that awaits a solution. “NFTs are generating profits, and I am sure this will positively affect things if things are done correctly.” The reference is to the legal aspect of managing a virtual world that is still not regulated.
Test and learn
If Arnault has the handbrake on, his rival, François-Henri Pinault of Kering, has his foot firmly on the accelerator. Pinault’s statement underlines the absolute distance between them: “When it comes to innovation, the group’s philosophy, rather than waiting and seeing, which is often the position of luxury brands, is to test and learn”. Hence, Kering has created a team completely dedicated to Web 3.0 and the metaverse. In addition, both Gucci and Balenciaga have their own offices dedicated to Web 3.0.
“We are at an extremely early stage of what could happen. Nothing is certain. It could fade away,” says Pinault, pointing out that digital is already a reality in the art world. “Will it become a universe in a wider economic environment? I think it will. It will become both an opportunity and a disruptive phenomenon,” says Pinault confidently before citing three revenue opportunities. First of all, NFTs, are linked to physical products. Then, virtual products (shoes, bags, but “it could be something else”). Finally, smart contracts that could help, for example, Kering’s brands to benefit from secondary markets. (mas.vi.)