LVMH buys into shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood
PARIS, Sept 20 (Reuters) - British upmarket shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood has won the lucrative endorsement of the world's biggest luxury goods group in a deal which could lead to his signature footwear adorning the feet of more of the world's wealthiest women.
French group LVMH, best known for more established brands such as Louis Vuitton, Celine, Fendi and Kenzo, is buying a majority stake in Kirkwood's company for an undisclosed sum as it aims to reinforce its stable of hot young designers.
Kirkwood, 33, whose stilettos and other sculptural designs have been worn by celebrities such as Sex and the City actress Sarah Jessica Parker and British model and TV presenter Alexa Chung, studied fine art at Central Saint Martins college in London.
He later learned the craft of shoemaking at London-based Cordwainers College before founding his shoe brand in 2004 together with his business partner Christopher Suarez.
LVMH and arch rival Kering, whose own young designer stable includes British fashion brand Christopher Kane and since this month the American brand Altuzarra, are vying to establish a reputation as backers of budding fashion talents.
LVMH earlier this year took a minority stake in young French fashion brand Maxime Simoens.
"This acquisition affirms the ongoing commitment of LVMH to nurture talent and creativity, considered as the heart of any success in the industry in which they are leaders," LVMH said in a statement.
Kirkwood's collections are already distributed in 150 leading department and specialty stores around the world as well as three flagship stores in London, New York and Las Vegas.