Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy - LVMH - is the world's largest luxury conglomerate overseeing 60 different brands from its Paris headquarters. The merger between the luxury leather goods company Louis Vuitton and the liquor company Moet Hennessy took place in 1987 with CEO Bernard Arnault slowly acquiring luxury fashion houses. Arnault is one of the wealthiest men in the world with his assets residing largely in LVMH shares. His influence is compounded by his massive art collection, one of the most significant in the world, which led to the creation of Louis Vuitton Espace Culturel and the development of his own contemporary art space in Paris.

Arnault first acquired Dior, which now accounts for 42% of LVMH's holding shares although Louis Vuitton accounts for 80% of profit. The chart below shows the timing of development.

When you own the company you can ask Galliano to personally design your daughter's wedding dress and have Lagerfeld take the photos.

The massive extent of LVMH includes American brands like Donna Karan, department stores and cruiselines.

Staff of 56,000 in 44 countries, 1,500 stores in both sprits and goods.

Arnault defines a star brand is one that is timeless, modern, fast-growing, and highly profitable. “There are fewer than 10 star brands in the luxury world,” he maintains, “ because it is very hard to balance all four characteristics at once—after all, fast growth is often at odds with high profitability—but that is what makes them stars." Luxury also needs a certain combination for the consumer such as heritage, integrity, flagships and premium pricing all of which give the consumer a sense of confidence in the product.

In the past four years Espace culturel, located inside the Louis Vuitton headquarters, has dedicated exhibitions to artists from Moscow, Korea and India and more. The idea of a global art space open to the public is the brand's way of supporting culture and reaching a wider audience.

Vanessa Beecroft at Espace Culturel, 2005


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