By  on October 14, 2011

PARIS — For the inaugural edition of its Les Journées Particulières initiative, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton this weekend opened to the public the doors of more than 25 of its facilities around Europe — including the Louis Vuitton ateliers in Asnières, on the outskirts of Paris; the Glenmorangie whisky distillery in Tain, Scotland, and the Palazzo Fendi in Rome.

The sites, generally closed to the public, offered visitors an array of creative experiences geared toward highlighting the specific savoir-faire of each house. Reached on Sunday night, an LVMH spokesman dubbed the event an “enormous success,” with more than 100,000 people turning up at its sites in France, Italy, Scotland and Poland — more than could be accommodated. Approximately 60,000 people toured the ateliers, the spokesman said, highlighting waits of up to five hours at Dior, Chaumet and Louis Vuitton. He added that the event would likely be repeated in the future.

Dior, at its Avenue Montaigne headquarters, gave visitors access to its Salon de Prestige, where house founder Christian Dior used to present his collections. Artisans from the house’s couture ateliers demonstrated their skills. Among them were tailor Huseyin Dil, 47, who has been working for Dior Homme for eight years, and embroiderers from storied embroidery house Vermont. “Something like 250 to 300 hours of embroidery goes into certain dresses,” said supervisor Etienne Liets.

A display charted the evolution of the Miss Dior perfume from the first bottle in 1949, including a film showing how the fragrance is made.

Lining the stairs leading up to the salon were Dior gowns from past and present, including Nuit de Grenade (Night of the Pomegranate) from 1960.

Givenchy for the first time opened up its haute couture salons on Paris’ Avenue George V, presenting a making-of film about the house’s fall-winter 2011 couture collection. Ten of the final creations were exhibited on mannequins. Meantime, artisans from the Givenchy ateliers gave live demonstrations of processes spanning from pattern making to embroidery, drapery and lace applications.

In Chaumet’s 18th-century headquarters, the Hôtel Baudard de Saint James on Paris’ Place Vendôme, an exhibition of the jeweler’s tiaras was accompanied by lessons in tiara making by some of the house’s artisans. Exceptional items on display included a tiara decorated with an asymmetric wheat motif from around 1810 that was thought to have been inspired by Joséphine Bonaparte, as well as an Empire-style Malachite jewelry set given by Bonaparte to her granddaughter, Amélie de Beauharnais, which is on loan from the Fondation Napoléon. For the first time, Chaumet also displayed a number of drawings dating from 1870 to 1930.

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