A Glimpse of Luxury Crafting at LVMH’s Famous Brands

Antoine Arnault, the eldest son of

LVMH

Bernard Arnault, CEO of Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, recently toured the jewelry design and innovation studio for Tiffany & Co., which the luxury powerhouse acquired in October 2020 for $15.8 million.

As head of communications for LVMH, Arnault was in the New York atelier to get a glimpse of what visitors will experience watching and talking to Tiffany artisans and designers at work during the fifth edition of the ‘company. Special Days, or Special Days, in mid-October. The three-day event will give thousands of people the opportunity to enter the workshops, studios, stores and vineyards of 58 housesor houses, which are part of the French luxury conglomerate.

Arnault, 45, was thrilled to see how artisans at Tiffany embodied the luxury goods group with their use of multi-generational techniques and tools alongside cutting-edge technology, such as 3D printers and scanners that can reveal how a bracelet will fit a wrist. During his visit, artisans were making a second prototype of a custom crown of thorns designed by singer Kendrick Lamar and filmmaker Dave Free.

“It’s really two worlds. And these are the two worlds that we believe are equally important and that make our homes so relevant today,” says Arnault. “We need that chemistry between the old/traditional and the new/innovative.”

Chandon Vineyards in Yountville, California, one of LVMH’s properties, will open for Special Days. Visitors are also welcomed to Chandon properties in Argentina, Australia and China.

Courtesy of LVMH

From October 14-16, visitors who have pre-booked tickets or plan to wait in line – perhaps for hours – will see and talk with the artisans and designers who create Tiffany jewelry, leather trunks Louis Vuitton, handmade Berluti boots, or Hublot watches. Lucky visitors will also be able to taste the best Sauternes at Château d’Yquem or the precious Napa Valley Cabernet at Colgin Cellars.

Arnault says the three-day look at how the company’s legendary brands work aims to show that the luxury multinational is not a monster, but “a guardian of all those fine houses and [their] know how.”

For LVMH, savoir-faire – literally “responding appropriately” – refers to the combination of tradition and innovation, art and technology, in the products of its 75 prestigious global brands.

This year Special Days is the first since 2018 and the fifth since Arnault conceived the idea for the first edition in 2011, initially with 20 houses in 25 locations and five countries. For 2022, LVMH will open the doors of 58 houses in 93 locations in 15 countries. Already, 80,000 visitors have tickets to discover brands from Paris to Toronto, from Rome to New York. The company expects around 200,000 visitors to attend.

The project proved as popular among LVMH employees as it was with visitors, Arnault says. Designers, artisans and retail workers volunteer to come for a weekend where they can often explain their work to those who know little about it. Frequent or important customers of these brands “already have enough of a chance” to get a glimpse behind the scenes, he says.

While Arnault says that “all experiences are interesting”, when asked to highlight one or two, he mentions Berluti, the Italian leather goods company, of which he is also CEO. The brand offers tours of its manufacturing plant in Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy, and its bespoke shoemaking and tailoring workshops in Paris.

This is the shoemaking workshop that Arnault is talking about, located in a Parisian apartment in front of a Berluti store on rue Marbeuf in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, where wooden forms of the feet of celebrities and famous politicians are displayed. Visitors will pass through four rooms revealing the stages of the shoe manufacturing process, from measurement to pattern making, assembly and finishing.

“It’s fascinating to see these bootmakers working with leather, to see the level of craftsmanship and how the word handmade really is more than true,” says Arnault. “You have men and women making these incredibly expensive shoes and they are so passionate about it.”

Those who want a different experience can visit Louis Vuitton’s luggage workshop in Asnières, Hauts-de-Seine, France, where visitors, even before entering, will hear “the symphony of hammers and nails of workers nailing literally these trunks,” says Arnault.

No sales are made during Special Days“That can happen later,” said Arnault. “It’s not commercial – it’s really for everyone to have fun, have a good time, discover and learn.”

Arnault estimates that 90% of its artisans take part. “It’s really a party, a showcase for all of our internal [workings] of LVMH,” he explains. It shows that we are the guardians of these incredibly rich, ancient and tradition-filled houses.

Many LVMH artisans have worked for its brands throughout their careers. Looking to the future, the company recognizes that a new generation is less attracted to fine crafts such as watchmaking, bespoke tailoring and embroidery. These are “very interesting jobs, excellent jobs, well-paid jobs and jobs that you can keep for a very long time, sometimes for a lifetime; but right now the younger generation is not interested in these jobs,” says Arnault.

In 2014, LVMH created the Institut des Métiers d’Excellence, a training program for creative, artisan and distribution professions to attract more workers to these professions. The program is now expanding to the United States with apprenticeships in jewelry design and making through Tiffany workshops.

The effort is part of Tiffany Atrium, a social impact platform designed to recruit historically underrepresented communities into the jewelry world. Through this program, Tiffany partners with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs, to provide educational and professional opportunities for creative arts and communications students.

During Special Daysfor example, up to 20 students from HBCU North Carolina A&T State University will tour the Tiffany Studio, followed by a reception and career panel at Tiffany’s New York headquarters.

To raise awareness of Special Days this year, Arnault himself got a taste of the talent and hard work required of the company’s artisans when he spent a day at Dior learning how to make a herringbone stitch under the watchful eye of Béatrice, the “workshop second” of the workshop. in charge of the workshop.

Arnault spent all day before perfecting a stitch he used to eventually cross out dates from Special Days on his desk calendar, documented in an Instagram video. But he now admits he never really succeeded. “It’s a miracle of cinema. It is very difficult to do, it is almost impossible.

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