What’s On My Desk: Arie Kopelman, Co-chair of The Winter Antiques Show and Vice Chairman of Chanel

Arie Kopelman, co-chair of the Winter Antiques Show, which holds its gala preview tonight (the show runs from January 20-29) has had a long and distinguished career as a business executive and philanthropist. He was president of Chanel from 1986 until 2004. He currently is vice chairman of Chanel, but says his favorite title is “professional grandfather.”  His past and current boards include The East Side House Settlement (chairman of the Winter Antiques Show from 1993 to the present), president of the Nantucket Historical Association, Columbia Business School Board of Overseers, New York City Ballet, Municipal Art Society, St. Bernard’s School and The Seventh Regiment Armory Conservancy.

Arie Kopelman, co-chair of the Winter Antiques Show, with his wife, Coco.
Arie Kopelman, co-chair of the Winter Antiques Show, with his wife, Coco.

When did you first become involved with the Winter Antiques Show?

I’ve been involved for almost thirty years, first on the board, and then chairing the event for the last 23 years.

Why did you choose this charity?

I’ve always been very interested in minority education and simultaneously fascinated by the art and antiques markets, so getting deeply involved was an easy decision.

What does your work for Winter Antiques Show entail?

Everything from choosing the dealers to handling the logistics that go into running any event of this kind. It’s a year-round effort.

Describe your desk. Is there any anecdotal history about it?

It’s a large English Partners desk made in the last quarter of the 19th century. When I am not using my office at Chanel, it’s the perfect home office. (It used to be my son’s bedroom!) The desk faces the wall so there are no distractions.

Describe what’s on your desk right now.

I always wanted a very large desk for all my stuff–and I have too much stuff! Usually there are piles of paper but I basically use it for my laptop, family photos, and a19th-century Indian weathervane from David Schorsch, one of our wonderful Americana dealers at the Winter Antiques Show. There’s also an Anglo-Indian inkstand that I purchased many years ago from a now retired dealer at the show. 

Kopelman, who is also vice chairman of Chanel, at his desk at home.

Do you correspond mostly via email or do you still believe in the hand-written note?

My correspondence is 90% email and 10% hand-written notes, although occasionally my assistant types them on personal letterhead.

What management skills do you draw on from the private sector to make your non-profit work successful?

Running any organization — for profit or not for profit — has many common denominators. It spans the gamut from being strategically focused, well organized, and being a leader who can motivate people. In short, making things happen!

Are there new programs at the East Side House Settlement benefiting from this year’s Winter Antiques Show fundraising?

There are always new programs at East Side House and of course what we are able to accomplish depends on the monies raised.  We have lots of fun doing the show but our ultimate motivation  is grounded in the decisions that will further the mission of East Side House Settlement.