Susannah Frankel: The new face of fashion is more accessible and less expensive

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The Independent Online

The buying spree that characterises contemporary fashion goes back to the Nineties, when France's luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) and its visionary CEO Bernard Arnault began to acquire designer labels with a voracity that was unprecedented.

Christian Dior, Givenchy, Kenzo, Pucci, Celine and Donna Karan are all owned by LVMH. Then at the end of the Nineties, PPR and The Gucci Group entered the fray, snapping up Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche and an equal or majority stake in the younger brands Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Balenciaga.

If Renzo Rosso has left it to fashion titans like these to buy up big-name, status-driven brands, the Diesel front man is clearly targeting the more left field and accessibly priced side of the market and this most recent partnership with Viktor & Rolf is no exception.

Rosso also owns a controlling stake in the Belgian avant-garde label, Maison Martin Margiela, and Sophia Kokosalaki, headed up by the eponymous Greek-born, London-based designer famed for dressing the opening of the 2004 Athens Olympics.

In fact, this is a familiar story. The Viktor & Rolf label is as high-profile as any fashion front runner could wish their business to be. But the brand lacks the infrastructure and, of course, financial support to expand any further.

This is what Mr Rosso intends to change. He told the fashion trade paper Women's Wear Daily: "My idea is to build one of the most modern groups for the future. They [these labels] are much more modern, close to the new young mentality. I believe much more in the new luxury that is less expensive, more approachable for the new upcoming consumer."