PARIS — Luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is perhaps best known for its formidable financials and its sponsorship of glitzy art shows. But what about its jewelry workshops, picturesque vineyards and leather goods ateliers?
This story first appeared in the June 7, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It’s a facet of the company Antoine Arnault looks to illustrate on Oct. 15 and 16, when 22 of the French group’s companies will open their facilities to the public, giving a rare glimpse of the inner workings of couture houses, distilleries and gourmet kitchens.
“I think it’s a new way for the LVMH group to communicate,” said Arnault, a director at LVMH and chief executive officer at Berluti, a maker of high-end men’s shoes that will also roll out the welcome mat on Les Journées Particulières.
Participating LVMH companies — from single-malt whiskey maker Glenmorangie to Parfums Christian Dior — are poised to receive anywhere from handfuls of visitors to hundreds in sites across France, plus a few scattered across Italy, Poland, Spain and Scotland.
Arnault said a dedicated Web site would take reservations for half of the available spaces on a first-come, first-serve basis, with drop-ins accommodated as space allows.
France has a tradition of opening up government building and monuments as part of European Heritage Days each September, and Arnault said he’s convinced there is broad curiosity about heritage brands, their savoir faire and skilled artisans.
“Products are one thing, but how they’re made, who makes them, and where is also of interest to the public,” he said, noting many of the work sites are architecturally significant and painstakingly restored.
LVMH will invite the public to the event via an ad campaign slated to start June 20.