“The biggest story in fashion is still the fact that the Wertheimers never give theirs away,” the New York Times said in 2002 of the brothers, whose combined net worth has been estimated at more than $30 billion, overseeing one of the most storied fashion houses in the world. Alain Wertheimer, co-owner of the House of Chanel, has extended this same policy of privacy that is Chanel’s company standard to his art collection. He never allows his collection, which consists of works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Henri Rousseau, to be loaned or photographed. Though it is known that these works of art are distributed between multiple residences and the Chanel executive offices, and that Alain is a client of the prestigious Julius Lowy Frame and Restoring Company, little has been revealed about Wertheimer’s holdings or his collecting habits.
Privacy is itself a lifestyle: when the brothers attend Chanel runway shows, they reportedly drive themselves in a modest french hatchback, slipping into the third or fourth row. They rarely attend Chanel boutique openings and never lend their names to advertising. So, what will Wertheimer talk about, if not his company or his art? “I spoke to the Wine Spectator because that’s PR, that’s how you sell wine. I will gladly speak to you about the wine and the horses,” he told the Times in a rare interview. “But I don’t give interviews on Chanel because it is not useful for the Chanel business.” As of October 2022, Forbes estimated his net worth to be $27.9 billion.