Saint Laurent, fresh from displaying its Autumn/Winter 2022 collection at Paris Fashion Week, appears to be looking for new ways to increase its revenues. It is expected to be the next Kering brand to achieve “mega-brand” status. Kering released its FY2021 revenue report in February. It paid particular attention to Saint Laurent’s Paris-based headquarters. CEO Francesca Bellettini and creative director Anthony Vaccarello noted that Saint Laurent has “exceptional growth potential” and that they are looking at new avenues to achieve that growth.
It is not surprising, considering the innovation-focused nature Kering group, that Saint Laurent appears to be looking at the metaverse. The brand’s counsel filed three trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) on March 16. This included a stylized version of Yves Saint Laurent and the YSL logo to be used in connection with “downloadable and recorded virtual goods” (Class 9); “online retailer services featuring virtual goods (Class 35); and “financial services,” namely, the provision of virtual currency (Class 36); and “entertainment service, namely, the provision of non-downloadable, online, non-downloadable, non-downloadable, ad clothing and accessories (Class 41).
These applications also cite Saint Laurent’s and YSL’s intention to use their marks on Class 42 services, such as “authentication, issuance, and validation of digital certificates,” and “platform as a platform featuring computer software platforms for creating and selling non-fungible coins (‘NFTs ‘),”) and “design non-fungible tokens.”
The intent-to-use applications and the chairman of Saint Laurent seem to indicate that Saint Laurent is working on a potential big venture in the virtual world. Given the importance Kering places on the potential of the metaverse, it would not be surprising that Saint Laurent might be making impending efforts in this space. In February, Kering CEO Francois–Henri Pinault stated that the French luxury goods conglomerate has a “full staff dedicated to web3/metaverse”, another team at Gucci, and one at Balenciaga,” and they are all working together to promote innovation in what he calls “the very early stages of what could become the metaverse” as well as web3 broadly.
Kering’s brands have been making inroads in the “metaverse”, through partnerships such as Balenciaga and Fortnite’s tie-up and Gucci’s pop-up experience in Roblox. These are part of a multifaceted effort to enhance brands’ expression/extend their reach and create new products.
A recent Bloomberg Intelligence report estimates that the space could be worth nearly $800 billion by 2024, reflecting the market segment it is being called the metaverse. According to the December 2021 report of Bloomberg Intelligence, “The convergence between the physical and digital realms is the next evolution of the internet and social networks using real 3D software presents an opportunity to capitalize on new revenue streams for leading online entertainment companies and social media companies.” However, not as many have been as open to trying out the waters as Kering’s brands.
Saint Laurent’s potential moves and Kering’s early-mover status make it worth watching. It is trying to reach 3 billion euros in annual revenues, but Saint Laurent and other brands in the same space are also worth paying attention to.