The owner of Dior and Louis Vuitton is called a person who does not accept the word «no» and does not want to lose.
These qualities helped Bernard Arnault to build a fashionable empire, which became a symbol of French luxury, and create a fortune of more than $ 100 billion.
He does not plan to dwell on this.
“Bernard Arnault inspires me,” says Sharon Barber.
The 38-year-old Los Angeles-based accessories designer flew to Paris in the midst of Fall Fashion Week and set off for Louis Vuitton’s luxurious flagship store on Place Vendome to pay tribute to the head of the LVMH group of companies. Barber immediately attracts attention.
He dyed his hair in hot pink and yellow, and then with a black paint, using a stencil, painted several dollar signs on them.
The designer’s teeth have green grilles, and a massive steel chain of locks from Louis Vuitton handbags surrounds her neck. “Last year I spent a couple of hundred thousand on Louis Vuitton stuff,” adds Barber. He makes his living by customizing clothes and accessories for hip-hop stars, such as the Migos trio and the rapper Post Malone. In the video for the song Saint-Tropez Post Malone wears body armor, which Barber made of Louis Vuitton bag and black leather. A California designer is convinced that Bernard Arnault single-handedly formulated the modern definition of luxury.
Louis Vuitton store on Place Vendome in ParisLouis Vuitton store on Place Vendome in ParisLVMH.
“This is the most unusual house of Louis Vuitton. Here you can see the entire universe of the brand, ”says Arnaud with a pronounced French accent, describing the flagship store Louis Vuitton, opened two years ago. The store itself is a cross between a museum and a private club. In sparkling display cases — Louis Vuitton stuff in all its diversity. A marble staircase with glass balustrades leads to a private studio on the fourth floor, where six tailors create custom-made dresses for celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Emma Stone. “I was directly involved in the creation of the store,” Arno stresses.
The Frenchman constantly monitors the financial performance of its largest brands. This is especially true of Louis Vuitton — the «money machine» of the conglomerate. According to analysts, it is Louis Vuitton who accounts for up to 47% of profits and almost a quarter of LVMH’s revenues for 2018, which totaled $ 54 billion. LVMH itself publishes financial statements for the five main divisions, but does not disclose the performance of individual brands.
Bags, clothes and accessories that Louis Vuitton never sells in bulk or at a discount are the perfect mix of classics and modernity. An excellent example of this combination is the Capucines bag, made of turquoise leather and released in a limited edition, costing $ 8600. The 29-year-old Harlem artist Tshabalala Self decorated her with a unique multi-layer applique. Earlier this year, the new creative director of the Louis Vuitton men’s line, 39-year-old Virgil Abloe, also caused widespread hype by presenting a collection of glowing in the dark bags. Due to the fiber woven into the bags, the LV logo in the dark is highlighted with all the colors of the rainbow.
Capucines bag released in collaboration with artist Tshabalaloy Self Capucines bag released in collaboration with artist Tshabalala Self LVMH
“What is the secret to the success of brands such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior? It’s all about two aspects that can contradict each other: these brands exist outside of time and are more modern than ever, ”says Arno. “It’s like fire and water.”
Thanks to this paradox, the companies of the LVMH group, combining Fendi, Bulgari, Dom Pérignon, Givenchy and other brands (more than 70 in total), received record sales and profits. This, in turn, contributed to an increase in the value of LVMH shares, which in almost four years have almost tripled in price. Bernard Arnault, together with his relatives, owns 47% of the company. His fortune is now estimated at $ 102 billion — $ 68 billion more than in 2016. He ranks third in the ranking of the richest people in the world — after Jeff Bezos ($ 110 billion) and Bill Gates ($ 106 billion).
And even at the age of 70 Arno does not intend to stop there. In late October, LVMH announced preliminary negotiations for the purchase of the American jewelry brand Tiffany. Arnault plans to take over a $ 14.5 billion history jewelry company with 182 years of history. If the deal goes through, Tiffany will be his biggest acquisition.
“If we compare us with Microsoft, then we can say that our company is not so big,” the billionaire notes. Indeed, the technology giant’s market value of $ 1.1 trillion far exceeds the capitalization of LVMH, which is $ 214 billion. “But this is only the beginning,” the Frenchman adds.