Later this month, LVMH Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton will open its doors. The Paris-based conglomerate is set to offer consumers the chance to go behind the scenes at some of the ateliers of its portfolio of luxury labels, an opportunity, as the Robb Report aptly notes, “is typically reserved for a select few — high-spending clients and the occasional celebrity or journalist.”
Over a period of three days, from October 12 through 14, the group’s Les Journées Particulières will give members of the public access to a series of events, workshops, and tours of the workings of more than 50 brands at venues in more than 14 countries, including France, Germany, the United States, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia.
According to the Robb Report, “With Tag Heuer in Switzerland and Bulgari in Rome, guests will participate in workshops, getting an up-close-and-personal look at the precious materials and painstaking craftsmanship involved in each piece. And at Dior they’ll be whisked through the French countryside, making stops at the recently renovated Château de La Colle Noire in Montauroux (the typically closed-to-the-public private home of Christian Dior), the brand’s fragrance factories and fields in Grasse, and the atelier on Avenue Montaigne in Paris.”
Moreover, “The group’s cellar of wine and spirits brands will also be on full display during Les Journées Particulières—allowing a select few to sip their way through iconic houses ranging from Ruinart and Dom Perignon in France to Belvedere Vodka in Poland and Glenmorangie Distillery in the remote Scottish Highlands (an extended whisky-fueled trip is also available through LVMH’s Clos19). This year will also see the festival extend across the Atlantic—opening up Napa Valley houses like Chandon California and Colgin Cellars for the first time as well as the farther-flung, but no less exclusive, Cloudy Bay in New Zealand.”
Les Journées Particulières is, according to Antoine Arnault – the son of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton scion Bernard Arnault and the group’s newly-appointed head of Image and Communication – representative of “the generosity of our Houses’ highly diverse designers, artisans and talents who are always willing to share the force that unites them: a creative passion for their art and the quest for perfectly created, outstanding products and experiences.”
The global affair is also – undeniably – an elaborate marketing opportunity for LVMH, which has, over the years, garnered a reputation for being in the business of aggressively monetizing creative talent, and operating as a "barbarian at the gilded gates," as the New York Times put it, rather than an entity known for fostering creativity. The group’s longstanding Chairman, the senior-most Arnault, is famous for "exploiting family disputes," as the Financial Times put it; ousting creatives from their eponymous labels; and building up secret stakes in companies – on more than one occasion – in furtherance of “hostile takeovers.”
It is against this background that LVMH is beginning to place much more significance on its outward-facing image. According to Bloomberg, early this summer, in announcing son Antoine’s new title as the head of Image and Communications, Bernard Arnault “stressed the importance of the role, saying his son will be in charge of managing the ‘growing attention’ in the company from the media and public, and pointing to social media as an area of particular focus.”
The Les Journées Particulières endeavor, which was created in 2011 at the initiative of Antoine Arnault, paired with other LVMH ventures – such as the Foundation Louis Vuitton, which has been labeled a gift to the city of Paris (as after the group’s 55-year lease for the land expires, the museum will become the property of the city), its dedication to the well-being of models (as indicated by the charter it initiated with rival Kering), and its various gender-equality aimed initiatives – certainly help to paint LVMH is a softer light compared to its long-standing depiction in the media, one that is based on creativity, philanthropy, and transparency.
Now, if only LVMH would be as open about some of its more questionable moves – such as having alleged serial rapist Ian Connor and currently-under-investigation figure Jabari Shelton aka ASAP Bari in its front rows last season, which when questioned about by TFL, the Daily Beast, and Refinery29, LVMH’s PR failed to respond – as it is being with its Les Journées Particulières outings.