Jean-Louis Dumas

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Jean-Louis Dumas
Born (1938-02-02)February 2, 1938
Paris, France
Died May 1, 2010(2010-05-01) (aged 72)
Paris, France
Nationality French
Alma mater Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris
Occupation Businessperson, artistic designer
Employer Hermès chairman and design chief
Board member of Hermès

Jean-Louis Dumas (2 February 1938 – 1 May 2010) was a French businessman who served as the chairman of the Hermès group from 1978 until 2006. He also served as the company's artistic director.[1] Dumas is credited with turning Hermès into a global luxury brand during his tenure as chairman.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Jean-Louis Robert Frédéric Dumas was born in Paris, France on February 2, 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.[2] Dumas attended the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, also dubbed Sciences Po. After then traveling Scandinavia and Czechoslovakia while the drummer of a jazz ensemble, Dumas was sent to Algeria to perform his compulsory military service.[2]


In 1963, Dumas entered Bloomingdale's buyer-trainer program in New York.[2] In 1964, he joined Hermès,[2] which is family had founded in 1937.[1] Dumas later became CEO of the Hermès Group[2] and served as the company's artistic director.[1] His father died in 1978, and Dumas became chairman.[2] Expanding into the United States and Asia,[2] 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.[1]

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.[3] He took the company public in 1993, with around 3/4ths of the company remaining family-owned.[2] Jean Louis-Dumas retired as the chairman and artistic director of Hermès in January 2006 due to declining health.[1] He was replaced in the position by his son Pierre-Alexis Dumas.[citation needed]

Family and death[edit]

His wife Rena (née Gregoriadès) Dumas (1937–2009) was a Greek-born architect who founded Rena Dumas Architecture Intérieure in 1972 in Paris.[4][5] They married in 1962.[2] Pierre-Alexis Dumas is their son,[2] while their daughter Sandrine is a film actress.[2]

Jean-Louis Dumas died in Paris, France, on 1 May 2010, at the age of 72.[1] He took photographs throughout his life, and in 2008, Steidl published Jean-Louis Dumas: Photographer, a collection of his photographs.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Longtime Hermes luxury group boss dies". Agence France Presse. The Independent. 2010-05-02. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l William Grimes, "Jean-Louis Dumas, Chief of Hermès, Dies at 72, The New York Times, 3 May 2010
  3. ^ Leaper, Caroline (October 15, 2012), "Martin Margiela", Vogue, retrieved 25 September 2015 
  4. ^ "Dumas, Rena" in Mel Byars, The Design Encyclopedia, New York City: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004
  5. ^ 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