Kering in the Age of LVMH

Under François-Henri Pinault, the son of the founder, Kering aligned itself with more modern, and resolutely more American ideas, emphasizing transparency and clarity of vision.
Under François-Henri Pinault, the son of the founder, Kering aligned itself with more modern, and resolutely more American ideas, emphasizing transparency and clarity of vision. Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP
Lauren Sherman
July 10, 2023

As omnipresent as LVMH felt at the men’s shows in Paris a few weeks ago, Kering’s absence from the discourse was nearly as noticeable. Some of that was by design. Two of Kering’s biggest brands, Gucci and Bottega Veneta, typically show in Milan during the women’s season. Saint Laurent opted to stage an off-calendar show in Berlin more than a week before Paris got going. By the end of the couture shows, of course, Kering was once again top of mind, not only thanks to Balenciaga’s formidable showing, but also Guram Gvasalia’s strange and revealing interview in the New York Times, in which he inadvertently positioned his brother Demna, Balenciaga’s designer, at the center of the conversation. 

But there’s no doubt that Kering has been lying a bit lower when it comes to communication. For years, it was quite the opposite. In fact, it’s been exactly 10 years since the company changed its name to Kering from PPR (Pinault-Printemps-Redoute) as it morphed from a retail conglomerate (founded in 1993 by François Pinault, a former wood trader turned corporate raider turned brand manager) into a pure luxury play. The “Ker” in Kering—yes, it’s pronounced “caring”—is a nod to Pinault’s family origins in Brittany, where that word means “home.”