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  • Writer's pictureMajid Alhusseini

Meet Bernard Arnault, The King Of Luxury

When you look at the Forbes billionaire list, the men at the top made most of their money in tech, then you Bernard Arnault at number 3 with a net-worth of around 170 Billion dollars.

Dior, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Moët-Hennessy, Bulgari and Sephora are all owned by one man: Bernard Arnault aka "The Wolf In Cashmere.". His company LVMH owns 75 different brands across 6 different sectors. LVMH generates close to $1Bn per week and close to $50Bn per year in revenue. His 41% stake in the $330Bn company makes him one of the richest men in the world.

The Wolf in Cashmere mints around $1.1 million every hour or 19,000 every minute. That means that by the time you are done reading this article, he would have made around $38,000.

Arnault graduated from the École Polytechnique in Paris with a degree in engineering. In 1971 he took control of his father’s construction firm Ferret-Savinel. Eight years later he changed the company’s name to Férinel Inc. and shifted its focus to real estate.

With $15 million of his own money, Arnault, together with Antoine Bernheim, a managing partner of the French bank Lazard Frères and Co., raised the $80 million necessary to purchase Boussac Saint-Frères, a bankrupt textile company that owned the fashion house of Christian Dior. Then, in 1987, Arnault was invited to invest in LVMH by the company’s chairman, Henri Racamier. Investing through a joint venture with Guinness PLC, Arnault ousted Racamier in 1990 and started to sweep a slew of fashion companies into the LVMH fold: Christian Lacroix, Givenchy, and Kenzo; the leather goods companies Loewe, Céline, and Berluti; the jeweler Fred Joailler; the DFS group (the world’s biggest duty-free chain); and the beauty retailer Sephora.

Arnault continued to acquire luxury brands, including the Italian company Fendi (2003), the iconic French department store La Samaritaine (2010), Italian jewelry brand Bulgari (2011), and the classic American jeweler Tiffany & Co. (2021). He also built the Fondation Louis Vuitton (2014), a contemporary art museum in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris, designed by Canadian American architect Frank Gehry. In 2007 Arnault was named Commander of the Legion of Honour, one of France’s highest distinctions.

(A breakdown of LVMH's ownership.)

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