MODERN INSPIRATION: Turning east, France’s luxury trade association Comité Colbert has sponsored a series of pieces by young Japanese artists.

After years of focusing on emerging markets, the association decided to train its sights on promoting the perception of luxury in Japan and its younger generation of artists, its directors said.

“In Japan, the project ‘Dreaming 2074’ allowed us to establish a fruitful dialogue between French and Japanese imaginations,” said Élisabeth Ponsolle des Portes, president and chief executive officer of Comité Colbert, during a press lunch.

Fifty grants were given to artists hailing from the Tokyo University of the Arts by 27 members of the association, including Longchamp, Bonpoint and Cartier.

Three Japanese artists — Aya Kawato, Sayaka Shimada and Kanako Kitabayashi — were selected to have their work brought to the Paris art fair FIAC in October.

“Each of the sensations that brush our skin, which is a wall, a border between us and outside world, is something that is certain, authentic,” Kitabayashi said of her work entitled “Skin.”

The Comité Colbert counts 81 members stretching across the luxury industry including leather goods makers, and perfume, fashion and Champagne brands. It also counts a handful of European members that come from countries without an industry body for the high-end sector, including the Austrian crystal manufacturer Riedel, the Polish beauty institute Dr. Irena Eris Herend and Greek high-end jeweler Zolotas.

Having members from outside of France gives the association broader legitimacy so that it is seen as something more than a French organization, especially when dealing with European authorities, the group said.

“It allows us, when we have discussions in Brussels, to be seen as more than just the Gallic people at the table, but as representing the cultural and creative sector more largely, which creates wealth and jobs, and international recognition for all of Europe,” said the association’s chairman Guillaume de Seynes.

No new members were added to the association in recent months, according to de Seynes, who said the members represent 42 billion euros in annual sales.

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