In another luxury acquisition seemingly out of left field this week, French luxury fashion house Chanel has acquired British swim and resort wear brand Orlebar Brown from, amongst other shareholders, UK-based investment firm Piper and the company’s founder Adam Brown. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Brown will continue to lead the business as creative director, alongside CEO Paul Donoghue.
Originally founded as an online business, Orlebar Brown has established itself as a digitally led luxury brand. Since its creation in London in 2007, Orlebar Brown has offered a unique approach to men’s beach wear with a sophisticated range of swim shorts, expanded in 2010 into resort wear collections, revolving around the themes of travel, holiday and sun. With over 40 percent of its business online, the brand currently has a network of 24 boutiques in 11 countries and more than 250 stockists around the world. It has 129 employees. Worn by Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall and celebrated for its iconic photographic print shorts, the brand’s high-profile customers include Leonardo DiCaprio, Jay-Z, Michael Fassbender, Tom Brady, Roger Federer and Hugh Jackman.
By joining the Chanel companies, Orlebar Brown will continue its digitally-focused approach and also pursue its development internationally, with the opening of new boutiques in the United States, Europe, and Asia. For Chanel, this investment offers the opportunity to benefit not only from the omnichannel expertise of a well-established brand in digital and e-commerce, but also from multiple potential synergies with the House’s other brands, in particular its swimwear brand Eres.
“We are delighted to welcome Orlebar Brown to Chanel,” said Philippe Blondiaux, global chief financial officer at Chanel. “As well as sharing the same values and approach in terms of quality and know-how, this acquisition represents an ideal opportunity for synergy between Orlebar Brown and Eres. As a “digital native” brand, Orlebar Brown will enable Eres to strengthen its digital expertise and optimize its omnichannel distribution strategy. Orlebar Brown, on the other hand, will benefit from the retail experience and expertise of a long-standing player in high-quality beachwear.”
“Over the last 11 years we have built something truly special,” added Brown. “In Chanel, we have found the perfect home for the brand to continue to thrive and grow. I am very much looking forward to this exciting and enduring partnership and to building Orlebar Brown in the future.”