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How Badly Does LVMH Want Alessandro?

Alessandro Michele
If LVMH can find the right job for Alessandro Michele, it makes a lot more sense to keep him close than to allow a smaller player to scoop him up. Photo: Victor Boyko/Getty Images
Lauren Sherman
July 6, 2023

Was that picture of Dakota Johnson wearing a Chanel bag in his Instagram Story supposed to be some sort of Easter egg? Did Bidayat, the investment firm backed by the C.E.O. of Qatari-funded luxury group Mayhoola, really buy dormant Italian label Walter Albini just for him? Is he next in line at Louis Vuitton? The rumors swirling around Alessandro Michele’s next move abound, but the only thing I know for sure is that the former Gucci designer, who spent 20 years at the Kering-owned leather goods house, seven as its star, recently met with LVMH heir and current Dior C.E.O. Delphine Arnault. (A spokesperson for the conglomerate didn’t respond to my request for comment.) 

Of course, a meeting between an executive and a designer isn’t unusual, and could mean absolutely nothing, or simply be the familiar mating ritual of money and talent circling one another out of mere curiosity, as is often the case. But Delphine, the eldest child of LVMH C.E.O. and chairman Bernard Arnault, the second-richest person in the world, is also a serious business person and perhaps the most well-positioned and quietly ambitious of the heirs. She has been working at the group since 2000—developing close relationships with many of its designers, including Jonathan Anderson (the creative director of Loewe) and Nicolas Ghesquière (the women’s creative director of Louis Vuitton) along the way. She likes designers, real designers, and even spearheaded the LVMH Prize, the group’s annual competition for young talent that serves as a feeder into the $500 billion company’s ecosystem. And, of course, her still-new position as the C.E.O. of Dior—the first of the Arnault children to be in charge of a brand of that size—adds a certain weight to any interaction.