Jean-Louis Robert Frédéric Dumas
2 February 1938
|Died||1 May 2010 (aged 72)|
|Alma mater||Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris|
|Occupation||Businessperson, artistic designer|
|Employer||Hermès chairman and design chief|
|Net worth||US$2.5 billion (2006)|
|Board member of||Hermès|
|Relatives||Axel Dumas (cousin)|
Jean-Louis Robert Frédéric Dumas (2 February 1938 – 1 May 2010) was a French businessman who was the chairman of the Hermès group from 1978 until 2006. He also served as the company's artistic director. Dumas is credited with turning Hermès into a global luxury brand during his tenure as chairman.
Early life and education
Jean-Louis Robert Frédéric Dumas was born in Paris, France on 2 February 1938. He also used the last name Dumas-Hermès. His father was Robert Dumas, while his mother was one of Émile-Maurice Hermès' four daughters. Dumas' grandfather Émile-Maurice Hermès had been a grandson of Thierry. Dumas attended the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, also dubbed Sciences Po. He also traveled in Iran, Afghanistan, and Nepal in a Citroën 2CV. After then traveling Scandinavia and Czechoslovakia while the drummer of a jazz ensemble, Dumas was sent to Algeria to perform his compulsory military service.
In 1963, Dumas entered Bloomingdale's buyer-trainer program in New York. In 1964, he joined Hermès, which his family had founded in 1837. Dumas later became CEO of the Hermès Group and served as the company's artistic director. His father died in 1978, and Dumas became chairman. Expanding into the United States and Asia, he turned Hermès into a global brand after taking in the chairmanship, adding interests in Jean-Paul Gaultier and the Leica camera maker to the company.
In the 1980s Gaultier was working on fashion design in Paris, with Belgian designer Martin Margiela working as his design assistant from 1984 until 1987. He took the company public in 1993, with around 3/4ths of the company remaining family-owned. Jean Louis-Dumas retired as the chairman and artistic director of Hermès in January 2006 due to declining health. He was replaced in the position by his son Pierre-Alexis Dumas.
Family and death
His wife Rena (née Gregoriadès) Dumas (1937–2009) was a Greek-born architect who founded Rena Dumas Architecture Intérieure in 1972 in Paris. They married in 1962. Pierre-Alexis Dumas is their son, while their daughter Sandrine is a film actress.
Jean-Louis Dumas died in Paris on 1 May 2010, at the age of 72. He took photographs throughout his life, and in 2008, Steidl published Jean-Louis Dumas: Photographer, a collection of his photographs.
- "Forbes profile: Jean-Louis Dumas & family". Forbes. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
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- Leaper, Caroline (15 October 2012), "Martin Margiela", Vogue, retrieved 25 September 2015
- "Dumas, Rena" in Mel Byars, The Design Encyclopedia, New York City: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004
- Suzy Menkes, "Rena Dumas:Interior Design with a Soft Touch of Simplicity: from Greece, a Heritage of Light, The New York Times, 12 September 2000
- "Jean-Louis-Dumas Biography". Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. 16 June 2010.
- "Jean-Louis Dumas Obituary", The Telegraph, 3 May 2010
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- Childs, Martin (31 May 2010), "Jean-Louis Dumas: Businessman who transformed Hermes into one of the world's leading luxury brands", The Independent