LVMH head honcho Bernard Arnault has recently named his son, Antoine Arnault, CEO of luxury menswear brand Berluti. The 35-year-old, whom you might also know as Natalia Vodianova’s boyfriend, recently spoke to the Guardian about his new role, growing up in the family business, moments of rebellion, and dealing with difficult designers–like former Dior designer John Galliano, for example.
He says that one of the most important skills he’s learned from his father is how to talk to designers, who he says are not artists.
I’m sorry, but designers are not artists. They may have the talent of one, but if they want to work in that way they should paint or sculpt. Here they’re working in business and they need a brief. That’s what my father does so well. I’ve witnessed him do it countless times and I’m really inspired by that.
You know, towards the end, my father just couldn’t talk to John Galliano at all, it was impossible – he wouldn’t listen to anything. At that point, it crashes.
Overall, Arnault seems genuinely passionate about his family’s company and grateful for his position, even if it comes with a little extra pressure, having his father as his boss.
Of course there’s pressure, but I deserve absolutely no pity. It’s a great life and a great job. It didn’t arrive just like that. I work hard and, yes, my father trusts me more and more and we’re more involved in business decisions, but please don’t feel sorry for me.
There were moments, however, when he didn’t want to do it:
I had a couple of rebellious years when I didn’t want to be bothered with it, but I very naturally came back to it. It’s not a burden, you know? You’re going to work in fashion, surrounded by creativity and beautiful people, beautiful objects – or work in banking. Well, you know… OK, I choose fashion.
We also like Arnault’s perspective on customer service, which we hope he learned from Pretty Woman:
If I see one of my sales assistants neglecting someone because he doesn’t look like a good client, he’s fired immediately. I hate it when those guys are pricks and don’t say hello. Not least because it’s a terrible mistake.