In their latest bout of publicly snubbing LVMH since likening the luxury group to “a mosquito buzzing around,” Hermès hosted a large party for the opening of their new store in Paris and invited Salma Hayek. Normally this wouldn’t mean anything, since Hayek gets invited to lots of fancy, stylish parties, but in this case it does because she’s the wife of François-Henri Pinault, the owner of luxury holding company PPR, who famously thwarted LVMH’s attempted takeover of Gucci in 1999 and is widely viewed as LVMH’s main competitor in the international luxury business. Ever since LVMH sneakily purchased 17.1 percent of Hermès’s stocks last month and seemed poised for a hostile takeover, the Hermès family has loudly protested their presence, accusing LVMH of not being “friendly” and demanding their withdrawal from the family-owned company.
Of course, no one at the party would admit that Hayek was being used as a busty, Gucci-clad pawn in Hermès’s anti-LVMH campaign, particularly Hayek herself. “I don’t know about investment; I know about shopping,” she told WWD coyly. Hermès CEO Patrick Thomas, who posed for lots of pictures with Hayek, insisted that there was “no message” about her being there, but WWD seemed to detect some sarcasm from Bertrand Peuch when he “deadpanned” that she was just a guest. The store itself is Hermès’s second largest in the world; located in a former swimming pool on Paris’s left bank, it features a florist, a small bookstore, and a tea room, as well as three huts carved from ash wood that are “reminiscent of nomadic tents” and house typical Hermès gear like fancy saddles, leather bags, watches, and scarves.
Earlier: Hermès Tells LVMH ‘to Withdraw’