This is seriously “Must Read” material about Bernard Arnault- LVMH’s chairman, the richest man in France and majority owner of LVMH (including Louis Vuitton), Givenchy, Tag Heuer watches, Donna Karan, Fendi and Moët & Chandon champagne, Dior, etc. etc. etc. (Check out this cool chart for an overview…): “Being Bernard Arnault” from the Wall Street Journal’s new Magazine.
Some interesting quotes…
On the economic crisis:
“Every time there’s been a crisis, we’ve gained market share… We’re about to enter a market of buyers over the next six to eight months. There will be opportunities, and we will be looking at them.”
To Galliano on a red Dior handbag:
“What do you think?… John, help me out here. Do you like it?” he asks. “It’s for a younger crowd,” the designer ventures. “Think of it for the streets of St. Tropez.” Arnault shakes his head. “I don’t like it,” he says. “I don’t want to see it in stores.” (Read the whole interchange on page three… it’s an eye opener!)
On fashion designers:
“Designers are closer to artists than to engineers… They’re not like normal managers, and you have to balance their creativity and rationality. John, Karl, Marc, they’re genius. You can’t put them into a rational environment. They’re sometimes late, and you have to accept that if you work with them, you have to be understanding with them.”
His wife, Canadian concert pianist Hélène Mercier, on Arnault:
“He’s more than impatient, he’s obsessive… Everything has to be perfect. But sometimes that means that he’ll obsess about the little things. Like if a painting is too low, he’ll tell you 10 times that the painting is too low and I’m like, ‘Let’s move on.’ He doesn’t know half-measures. And he hates to lose.”
It’s a really, really great read.
Photo Credit from an amazing spread on business legands by Ben Baker…