PARIS — Bernard Arnault is a very hands-on luxury titan — occasionally even having a hand in architecture.
That’s the case with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s new research facility for its fragrance and cosmetics activities, based just outside of Orléans, France. It is named after the Greek sun god, Hélios.
Officially inaugurated Monday when LVMH’s managing director Antonio Belloni snipped a ribbon, the triangular center comprises six, three-story buildings with a communal area at the center.
Arnault, LVMH’s chairman and chief executive officer, was involved in the project’s design, said Claude Martinez, president and ceo of Parfums Christian Dior.
From the outset, Arnault liked the shape, “which is quite unique because it favors and enhances the connection between the three key dimensions of what we are doing here, which is research, formulation and — [an element] getting more and more important — regulation,” said Martinez.
“He was really involved in the way we designed the roof,” said Martinez, of the transparent, skinlike structure. “[Arnault] was clearly involved in the facade, from the outside, and had the idea of having a second level of architecture.”
The 200,000-square-foot center in Saint Jean de Braye houses 250 research scientists from more than 20 disciplines, such as ethnobotany, which create some 1,200 products each year. It is focused primarily on the brands Parfums Christian Dior, Guerlain, Parfums Givenchy and Fresh — although other LVMH beauty labels are also involved.
LVMH invested between 30 million euros and 40 million euros, or $40.6 million and $54.1 million at current exchange, in its construction, according to the company.
Modern and streamlined in black, white and gray tones, the Arte Charpentier-designed building sits on a 55-hectare, or 135-acre, park and complies with France’s High Environmental Quality standard, which involves limiting the environmental impact a building has while ensuring its optimum interior living conditions. To build the structure, 200 trees were cut down but 450 were replanted, for instance.
From the central area, with its undulating roof, staircases lead up to the labs and there are steps downstairs, to a garden level where there is a library, forum and training or meeting rooms. Natural light floods into the entire building.
Raw materials are stored in its lowest level.
Hélios is located in the region know as “Cosmetic Valley,” which is also the name of a business cluster comprised of numerous beauty companies. With the organization, LVMH research will be working on a program that involves helping nurture some small and medium-size companies in the sector, and also includes Orléans University.
Hélios, which has been running since September, can accommodate up to 300 researchers.
New products generate between 20 percent and 25 percent of LVMH’s perfume and cosmetics revenues that in 2012 amounted to 3.61 billion euros, or $4.64 billion at average exchange. The division has about 200 patents and invests between 2.5 percent and 3 percent of its sales in research and development.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)