As a prelude to the fourth edition of LVMH’s Les Journées Particulières event this fall — which will give the public a chance to visit leather goods workshops, perfume laboratories, vineyards and other production sites belonging to the French luxury conglomerate — a happy few got a glimpse into the inner workings of two of the French group’s brands on Monday night.
Antoine Arnault, wearing his hat as the new head of communication and image for LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, invited select editors attending the couture shows for a glass or two of Dom Pérignon at Chaumet’s 18th-century salon, a historic monument, and then spirited guests to the Louis Vuitton flagship on Place Vendôme for a lavish dinner.
Krug was poured once everyone assembled in one of the VIP salons, a plush space where Louis Vuitton chief executive officer Michael Burke described a decadelong process to reunite two historic town houses and restore them to their former grandeur.
“That’s how we like to cherish our brands, our houses and our assets. This is why I think Antoine is so right in making it available to the public,” he said.
Guests were then ushered into a specialty atelier next door that makes custom Vuitton designs, including red-carpet dresses for celebrities. Pattern pieces labeled Emma Stone and Léa Seydoux hung on hooks next to giant worktables, where seamstresses picked at prototypes.
The final step of the evening was a five-course meal — capped with fruit served in an ice bowl — all washed down with chardonnays and Sauternes from vineyards owned by LVMH.
Arnault said the idea for Les Journées Particulières came to him about seven years ago when he was reading an article about European Heritage Days, in which many countries invite visitors to buildings, monuments and sites that are not normally accessible.
The third edition of Les Journées Particulières in 2016 welcomed 145,000 people.
“One thing that I found extremely encouraging is the response of our artisans, the people who work for us who almost weekly come to me and ask me, ‘When is the next Journées Particulières?’” Arnault related, hoisting a glass of Newton wine from Napa Valley.
Scheduled for Oct. 12 to 14, the next open-doors weekend will span 76 venues in 13 countries, including 39 which have never been open to the public.
“This event is absolutely not made for clients,” Arnault noted. “It is made for nonclients, for people who want to discover how things are made, who makes them, where they are made, but definitely not in a commercial or in a way that we want to sell. Actually, commerce stops between these three days. Stores are open but our workshops are there for, hopefully 150,000 more people to come and witness it.”