Newsmaker of the Year: The Candidates

Here, the names that dominated the headlines in 2013. The winner, selected by WWD editors, will be published Dec. 16.

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Delphine Arnault

Photo By Stéphane Feugère

Here, the names that dominated the headlines in 2013. The winner, selected by WWD editors, will be published Dec. 16.


TITLE: Executive vice president

COMPANY: LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton

NEWS THIS YEAR: Long a behind-the-scenes power player at the luxury group her family controls, Delphine Arnault emerged this year as a crucial talent scout for LVMH as the competition for hot designers intensified.

The daughter of luxury titan Bernard Arnault was intricately involved in the recruitment of Nicolas Ghesquière as artistic director of women’s collections at Louis Vuitton, the hiring of leather goods designer Darren Spaziani for Vuitton, the majority acquisition of British footwear designer firm Nicholas Kirkwood, and the minority investment in rising London fashion star J.W. Anderson, who was also handed the design reins at Loewe.

The 38-year-old Arnault, who had been Dior’s deputy managing director since 2008, in September became second-in-command at Vuitton and was put in charge of all the house’s product-related activities. Given that the cash-cow brand has estimated revenues of 7.4 billion euros, or about $10 billion at current exchange, the appointment puts her in one of the most pivotal positions in the industry.

A friendly yet discrete executive, Arnault rarely gives interviews, leaving the spotlight to the brand and its creative director. She called Spaziani, hired away from Proenza Schouler to spearhead new lines of “very high-end” leather goods, “one of the most talented designers of his generation.”

Likewise, Arnault described Kirkwood’s talent for shoe design as exceptional, adding, “I am especially impressed with his commitment to innovation and craftsmanship.”


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