Bernard Arnault, the owner of the luxury conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, was, briefly, this week the world’s richest man, at least according to Forbes’ estimates. He is now worth an estimated $186.3 billion. Which on Monday morning meant that Arnault had overtaken Amazon owner Jeff Bezos’ $186 billion fortune for the number one spot — for those doing the math, that was a difference of a slim $300 million.
However, on Monday as the markets re-opened, Bezos and Arnault played a game of musical chairs, as their bank accounts went back and forth in determining the top spot. Though, it appears Forbes has decided Bezos has currently regained his first-place status. Clocking in third place is Tesla owner, Saturday Night Live host, and X Æ A-12’s dad Elon Musk, who is worth $147.3 billion. Musk, himself, was briefly declared “world’s richest person” earlier this year on the strength of Tesla’s performance.
Arnault is a familiar name to many fashion obsessives, as LVMH owns many exalted brands in the industry, including Christian Dior, Celine, Givenchy, Loewe, Fendi, Bulgari, Tiffany & Co., Sephora, and Fenty, briefly, in addition to the aforementioned Louis Vuitton and Moët Hennessy. The company also controls several wine and spirits brands (including Veuve Clicquot, Chandon, and Belvedere) as well as the luxury yacht company and the high-end hotel brands Cheval Blanc and Belmond.
Forbes noted that the pandemic has been especially kind to LVMH, with his personal wealth gaining an eye-popping $110 billion within the past 14 months. We’re guessing our weekly Sephora orders for face masks and lipstick we’ll never wear are partially responsible for Arnault’s dramatic increase. Arnault actually first got his start in the construction business, but in 1984 acquired the parent company of Dior. He then acquired a controlling stake in LVMH in 1989 (interestingly, LVMH and Dior’s integration wasn’t fully simplified until 2017). Most recently, LVMH also acquired Tiffany and Co. for a reported $15.8 billion in January 2021.