The fashion news tussle that is Bernard Arnault of LVMH vs the house of Hermès has taken another twist today, with some brilliant, slightly cryptic comments from Hermès CEO Patrick Thomas.
The story so far: Arnault, CEO of the luxury goods powerhouse (which owns Louis Vuitton and Dior), has begun to buy up large amounts of shares in family-owned luxury label Hermès. He has been slowly increasing his stock, while strenuously denying having any intention of taking control of Hermès International or of making a public offer in the next six months.
Hermes seems to be growing increasingly nervous about Arnault's encroaching share in the business, and today, Hermès' CEO Patrick Thomas went public, declaring; ‘I don’t think a house like Hermès is capable of surviving in a universe controlled by money. This house has proved again and again that poetry is not incompatible with business … I sincerely hope that the power of money alone will not kill the pretty flower.’
Essentially, this represents a showdown between the two extremes of the luxury fashion business today: LVMH; the mighty global multinational conglomerate on one side; and Hermes, one of the few surviving family-owned independent heritage brands (and an extremely profitable one at that) on the other.
- Naomi Attwood