Delvaux is (was) Belgium’s finest luxury handbag maker. Founded in 1829, it famously claims to be the world’s oldest fine leather goods house in the world. To this day, the bags are principally made in Belgium and across the border in France. To put things into perspective, ask any Belgian about the finest leather bags in the world, and they will bring up Delvaux (most certainly not Louis-Delwho?). As such, when Delvaux switches ownership, it is a pretty big deal over here in Brussels.
“In 1908, Delvaux was the first to file an official patent for a leather handbag and can thus be called the inventor of the modern luxury handbag”. It is one of very few ‘Maisons’ where Belgium feels comfortable welcoming heads of state (and their spouses) to take back a bag or two as a gift from ‘the people of Belgium’. A very prestigious brand, with unusually little ‘in-your-face branding’. Aimed at the customer who knows, but doesn’t necessarily need everyone else to know.
This move is as far as I’m concerned, one of Richemont’s best acquisitions in recent memory. I often compare Richemont to LVMH, for good reason of course. While I have my own views concerning both behemoths and their strengths and weaknesses, I think we can all agree that LVMH is quite a bit ahead in the leather goods department. This gives them a better diversified basket of ‘luxury goods’ to pick from, and this is of course also beneficial to all the luxury watch brands they own.
With this move Richemont makes a huge leap forward in the leather goods department. It appears small on paper as Richemont states: “The transaction has no material financial impact on Richemont’s consolidated net assets or operating result for the year ending 31 March 2022. The results of Delvaux will be reported under the ‘Other’ business area”. However small on paper, this is a big move and one that will most certainly pay off in the not too distant future.
In the press release announcing the news, Philippe Fortunato, CEO of Fashion & Accessories Maisons, commented: “Delvaux is an authentic European luxury leather goods Maison with strong heritage, distinctive savoir faire and exceptional manufacturing capabilities. The Maison’s rich archives and creative momentum over the last 10 years represent a solid foundation from which to grow the company for the long term, strengthening Richemont’s presence at the pinnacle of the leather goods category. We are delighted to welcome Delvaux’s management and teams to Richemont, and look forward to working closely with them to enable the Maison to reach its full potential under the Group’s stewardship.”