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The Brothers Arnault

In the early days, Antoine’s ambition for Berluti made him the Arnault sibling to watch, but he has been outshone by Alexandre, the eldest of the three boys that make up “the second family.”
In the early days, Antoine’s ambition for Berluti made him the Arnault sibling to watch, but he has been outshone by Alexandre, the eldest of the three boys that make up “the second family.” Photo: David M. Benett/Getty Images
Lauren Sherman
November 30, 2023

The fashion industry is still talking about LVMH heir Antoine Arnault’s recent exit from Berluti, the men’s heritage brand he’s been running since 2012, and they’re calling it a demotion. Antoine’s appointment over a decade ago made him the first of the Arnault children to become the C.E.O. of one of the family-controlled company’s maisons. In those early days, his ambition for Berluti made him the sibling to watch. He understood that the menswear market was growing rapidly, and that LVMH should own more of it. He hired the talented Alessandro Sartori to expand the business, which LVMH had owned since 1993, from just shoes to ready-to-wear, in an attempt to compete against Sartori’s old stomping ground, suiting giant Zegna, and also Brioni, which rival Kering acquired in 2011. 

But Sartori went back to Zegna in 2016 when he was given the chance to be the artistic director of the entire house, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a certain kind of Italian menswear designer. Antoine then appointed Haider Ackermann, one of the most celebrated designers of his generation, but that quickly ended after two years. Kris Van Assche, who joined after a decade designing Dior men’s, only lasted three years.