LVMH – The Company Behind Louis Vuitton

Did you know that Louis Vuitton owns many other luxury brands…and not just within fashion? In 1987, Louis Vuitton merged with Moët et Chandon and Hennessy to form LVMH, which currently boasts a portfolio of 75 profitable names, including none other than Dom Pérignon, Sephora, Fendi, and Rimowa.

LVMH, the company behind Louis Vuitton, was founded in 1987 as a merger between the brands Moët et Chandon Champagne, Hennessy and Louis Vuitton. Today, the French multinational corporation with headquarter in the capital of fashion, Paris, are a world leader in the luxury sector with a wide range of high-quality products. 

Embedded in the short name rest an old and substantial heritage and expertise that from the beginning has been standing for creativity and innovation. But more closely, which are the brands behind the origination of LVMH?


The L and V stands for Louis Vuitton, the French luxury brand founded by Louis Vuitton himself. When Vuitton was only 16 years old, he arrived in Paris and started to work at the Parisian atelier of Monsieur Maréchal. At the atelier Vuitton began to custom design boxes, and later trunks, before he 17 years later, 1854 opened his own workshop at 4 Rue Neuve-des-Capucines near the Place Vendome. In 1859 he opened the second atelier, Asnières which since then has been a symbol of the Vuitton family's personal and commercial success. The workshop are today still where leather goods are being designed and created for clients all around the world. 

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The second part of LVMH, M and H stands for Moët et Chandon and Hennessy and are a merger between these two brands. The roots of Moët et Chandon Champagne wander back to 1743, when the founder Claude Moët decided to make his Champagne the most sought-after in Europe. Since then Moët et Chandon has been passing down their innovative and pioneering spirit from generation to generation and become a major international champagne brand. 


From one beverage to another, the house of Hennessy has since 1765 created new chapters in the tale of cognac. Though the brand has their origin in France, the founder Richard Hennessy was an Irish officer in the service of the King of France, when he foresaw the commercial potential of the Cognac’s eaux-de-vie (French for water of life). The company has since then been successful thanks to Hennessy’s ambitious business development strategy and constant quest for excellence when creating cognac.

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So, what does a young boy in Paris has in common with sparkling champagne and an Irish officer under the service of the King of France? One simple answer, Bernard Arnault, the founder of LVMH as well as present chairman and CEO of the today family run group.



It all started with Arnault and his partners reorganization of the Financière Agache holding group, where Boussac, a beleaguered textile company which owned among other assets, Christian Dior and the department store Le Bon Marché. Arnault’s strategy was to develop and build the world’s leading luxury product company, and therefore sold all assets within the Financière Agache group except Dior and le Bon Marché. Instead he turned these two around, and made the group go from uneconomic to profitability. As a part of this process, he also reinvigorated the house of Christian Dior as the cornerstone of the new organization.

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From beverage and leather goods, the LVMH conglomeration 2020 consists of 75 houses that combines creativity with timelessness and are today divided into six different sectors with roots from all over the world. The first sector is Wines & Spirits, which contains of 26 houses, such as Moët and Krug to name a few. The second one, Fashion & Leather Goods, contains of 17 houses. The third sector, Perfumes & Cosmetics, has 14 houses, including Louis Vuitton and Spanish brand Loewe among others. Watches & Jewelry are the most recently established activity with 6 houses. The fourth sector, Selective Retailing is different compared to the ones mentioned above, as LVMH themselves states it, they share one single objective:” to transform shopping into a unique experience”, here Sephora are included. But the LVMH brand goes far beyond the material world with their last and sixth sector, other activities. Here, theyaim to bring together people who share a passion for lifestyle, culture and the arts, with brands like the high-end yatch builder Royal Van Lent.


And LMVH are continuing to develop their house portfolio. As late as February 2020, one of the trending top news was LVMH’s priciest acquisition and most expensive deal ever made in luxury sector. The buying of the iconic jewelry house Tiffany & Co, a company with a rich heritage and unique position in the global luxury jewelry market was an acquisition worth 16,2 billion dollars and resulted in an even stronger house portfolio.

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One thing about LVMH is that they’re all about support young creative designers, in the consequence of this they created the LVMH Prize in 2013, and every year one designer under 40 have the chance to win the award. In addition to just winning the prize and honor, the winner also gets a grant of 300,000 euros and personalized support from the LVMH-group during a 12-month period. Among the winners you can find Marta Marques & Paulo Almeida for brand MARQUES’ALMEIDA, as well as Marine Serre, for brand Marine Serre.


Even though LVMH has a strong position at the luxury brand market, they have a strong competitor and a bitter rivalry in the (also) French luxury group Pinault-Printemps-Redoute (PPR) today known as Kering. This distinguish rivalry started in 1999 with 2,5 years of battle regarding who of the two luxury groups that should have the ownership of one of our times most famous fashion brands, Gucci. In addition to this, the battle has also been called ”one of the most bitter fights in corporate history” and resulted in Kering being the so-called winner in this fight. 


LVMH aren’t the stakeholder of the Gucci brand today, but they have a wide range of other houses that pave the way for their success. By giving each brand the opportunity to be creative and innovative in order to stay relevant and have a strong brand identity, LVMH are continuing to develop the world of fashion and keep on building their own heritage.

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Written by Anna Villani
Anna Villani is a fashion writer based in Copenhagen
The people pictured are not associated with The Archive
or The Vintage Bar, and do not endorse the products shown.