Video: Who runs Chrisian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy today: Bernard Arnault's fashion empire
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 13:10
Haute couture is a fantastic world where designers' boundless imagination reigns … But this world also has a downside, where those who do not go to bow to get the applause rule. Millionaires invisible to the world, deciding who will lead a fashion house with a long history, who will burst into the industry as a bright comet, and who will be forgotten forever. One of such modest inhabitants of the fashionable behind the scenes is Bernard Arnault, the president of the LVMH group, which owns Christian Dior, Givenchy, Kenzo …
The man who decides the fate of the fashion world was born in the French town of Roubaix and received an excellent engineering education. However, he had to design not mechanisms, but financial schemes. He did not work a day in his specialty - he preferred to join his father as a companion, and soon he headed the family construction company. But I always wanted more - literally more. For many years before becoming the richest man in Europe, Bernard Arnault dreamed of creating a real monster, a company that would have no competitors in the market. He sold the business and went to the United States. His father learned about the sale of the company after the fact. However, there is a version that his father helped Bernard find good buyers, and also that Arnault went to the United States to open a branch of the business there. One way or another, it was his temporary move to the United States with his first wife and children that began the history of the great empire of the Arno family. In the United States, Bernard learned the art of war - or rather, the methods of "capture" and "takeover" of companies. He was also involved in the construction business, and although he achieved significant success, he could not overcome his main competitor, Donald Trump.
In 1984, he finally found his first "victim" - it was the bankrupt conglomerate Boussac, which at that time owned the Christian Dior brand. Arnault's first wife's relatives owned and supported shares in Boussac. In truth, it was Bernard Arnault who saved the house of Dior from ruin and disappearance. And, once in the world of fashion, I could not turn back. His father found three books for him about the textile industry - previously, Bernard had not the slightest idea about it. Four years later, Arnault began to "take over" the large company Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, buying up more and more of their shares. At this time, real passions were in full swing at LVMH - representatives of the Hennessy, Moe and Recamier families (Vuitton's relatives) fought for the post of head of the combined enterprise. The company was on the verge of collapse, and to avoid it, Arno was invited to the post of head. Quite quickly, the Recamier left the conglomerate, and the Hennessy and Moe families agreed with every decision of Arno … And he began his journey to unattainable heights. It is believed that Arnault has his eye on LVMH largely because he fought with them some time ago to acquire the house of Dior.
In the world of fashion, the position of both new brands and houses with a long history is always unstable. Lack of reasonable management, wrong financial decisions, uncontrollable creative impulses leading to the creation of collections that do not want to buy … Today you dress up the country's first ladies and queens, and tomorrow you cannot pay off your debts. An industry riddled with constant anxiety has become a real gold mine for Arno. He mercilessly broke contracts with designers whom he considered insufficiently gifted. Arnault relied on creativity, reminding the world that the fashion industry produces and sells not things, but dreams.
Today, LVMH includes seventy-five brands specializing in the production of luxury goods: elite alcohol, clothing and accessories, watches and jewelry, perfumes and cosmetics. Givenchy, Kenzo, Loewe, Marc Jacobs, Guerlain, Sephora and, of course, Louis Vuitton … However, when someone uncorks a bottle of Veuve Clicquot or takes a sip of Hennessy - the ubiquitous Arno is behind this, because these brands also belong to LVMH. In the 90s, Arnault fought desperately to acquire a controlling stake in Gucci with the prospect of a further takeover, but lost.
LVMH employs one hundred and fifty thousand employees. All of them follow a kind of code - clear ethical principles aimed at honest, open business conduct, tolerant attitude towards others, and respect for the environment. The conglomerate has a tough discipline, and anyone who casts a shadow on the company's reputation will lose their position - even if they are a genius designer at least a hundred times. Today the Arnault family and LVMH are entirely on the side of progress. Several of the largest fashion houses with a huge history in the composition of LVMH are headed by women - and in general, LVMH contributed to the turn of the fashion industry towards a woman as a person, to the emergence of things that are not only luxurious, but also comfortable. LVMH promotes the use of resource-saving technologies, recycling and the reduction of industrial pollution.
Bernard Arnault prefers to control the processes inside and out, regularly visits the company's offices abroad, he is still inclined to make decisions on his own. He works twenty-four hours a day and only sometimes allows himself to play tennis or sit at the piano - they say he could have become a great musician … if, of course, he had not been a great businessman.
Like many owners of huge fortunes, Arnault is actively involved in charity work - of course, in the world of fashion and art. He patronizes several art galleries, funds Academy of Fine Arts students with disabilities, and supports young talent in the fashion industry. In 2019, he donated € 200 million to rebuild the fire-damaged Notre Dame de Paris cathedral in France.
And if Bernard Arnault holds in his hands all the largest high-class brands, then one of his heirs, Antoine, went further and stole … the heart of the most famous Russian model. On September 19, 2020, Natalya Vodianova became his wife. The happy couple brings up five children (two in common, three from Natalia's previous marriage) and organizes charity events.