L Catterton Asia leads investment in South Korean designer eyewear brand Gentle Monster

SINGAPORE - L Catterton Asia, a consumer-focused private equity firm, announced on Friday (Sept 8) an investment in Iicombined, the owner and operator of eyewear designer brand Gentle Monster.

L Catterton Asia leads a consortium including Groupe Arnault to acquire a minority equity stake in Gentle Monster. Groupe Arnault is owned and controlled by Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of luxury group LVMH Moet Hennessy.

Gentle Monster, known for its fashion-forward sunglasses and bold frames, is popular with South Korean and Hollywood celebrities and trendsetters.

The South Korean eyewear brand will open its first South-east Asian flagship store in Singapore at Ion Orchard this month.

It is already in more than 19 countries and has 11 standalone stores around the world, in countries such as the United States and China.

Gentle Monster co-founder and chief executive Kim Hankook said: "In a time where Gentle Monster is progressing into a global fashion eyewear brand, we are honoured to partner with L Catterton Asia and Groupe Arnault.

"We already have a presence in Greater China and America and plan to further expand our footprint into Europe and the Middle East."

L Catterton Asia chairman and managing partner Ravi Thakran said: "Gentle Monster is already outselling more established competitors, delivering retail productivity on par with or better than many luxury brands.

"Given the relatively low penetration rates for sunglasses across most Asian markets, and Gentle Monster's success in addressing the unique needs of Asian consumers, we see strong growth potential for the company."