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  • JOELLE DIDERICH

LVMH to Open Dedicated Space for Craftsmanship in Paris

The Maison des Métiers d’Excellence will offer training programs for amateurs and professionals.


A scale model of LVMH's future Maison des Métiers d’Excellence by paper artist Hannah Levesque.COURTESY OF LVMH


PARISLVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is launching a new house in Paris.


In a move calculated to give it a competitive edge amid a shortage of skilled workers, the world’s largest luxury group said on Tuesday it would open a dedicated space for craftsmanship in the eighth arrondissement, a stone’s throw from the Dior ateliers and Avenue Montaigne, home to the French capital’s most exclusive boutiques.


During a preview visit to the construction site, Chantal Gaemperle, group executive vice president of human resources and synergies at LVMH, said the Maison des Métiers d’Excellence would allow visitors to touch and feel the breadth of the 280 skilled trades represented across its 75 brands, which range from Louis Vuitton to Dom Pérignon, Tiffany & Co. and Sephora.


“You can do Zoom meetings, you can do videos. But having direct contact with makers and apprentices is inspiring,” she said. “The pandemic has fueled people’s need to find meaning and make something that they can understand and touch. There’s a desire to have a concrete impact and be together.”


Spanning 21,500 square feet, the location on Rue Bayard will be open to the public as well as provide a physical home for LVMH’s Institut des Métiers d’Excellence, the vocational training program aimed at promoting, enhancing and ensuring the transmission of know-how in partnership with leading schools.

Since it was founded in 2014, the scheme has trained more than 2,700 people in seven countries, and this year saw a record intake of 700 apprentices, up from 450 in 2022.


While LVMH declined to reveal how much it is investing in the project, the group said it spent 215 million euros on training in 2022. It plans to hire 22,000 specialized craftspeople worldwide by the end of 2025, including 8,000 in France, according to Alexandre Boquel, head of development for LVMH’s Métiers d’Excellence division.


To meet those targets, LVMH has intensified its outreach efforts to counter a dearth of personnel in fields including retail and leather goods.


Chantal Gaemperle at the Paris leg of the “You and Me” recruitment drive.COURTESY OF LVMH


It hopes that having a physical showcase will help fuel interest in professions that have been handed down from generation to generation, but are not always well known or understood. “We need to find the people and we need to make these jobs attractive, and we believe that this house will contribute to that,” Gaemperle said.


The group is constantly registering new job categories as it acquires brands and identifies niche skills. It recently added to its list the métier of glyptician, or gem sculptor, but lesser-known professions also include shoemaking and eyewear manufacturing, both sectors that need to attract fresh talents, Boquel said.


“This place is a tower of transmission,” he said. “It will be open to all and the promise is that the moment you walk in here, you will learn a physical gesture, whether you’re a novice, a member of the public or a researcher in craftsmanship.”


The main building, dating from 1880, will act as a learning center, with hands-on workshops where visitors, in groups of 10 to 12 people, will don white blouses and learn from LVMH employees some of the techniques used in fashion and leather goods, perfumes and cosmetics, and watches and jewelry.


The academy will also welcome external craftspeople such as feather-makers or straw marquetry experts. Courses can be booked online and will last between one and three hours, Boquel said.


In addition, the building will house a training academy for apprentices and employees, as well as a research library. An annex will be home to a café, store and exhibition space, all themed around craftsmanship.


Construction work is due to begin next year and the center is expected to open at the end of 2025, LVMH announced during the third edition of Show Me Paris, its annual event spotlighting the group’s efforts to attract future generations to careers in the creative, craftsmanship and client-experience fields.


I know that the majority of visitors won’t become craftspeople, to be honest.” ALEXANDRE BOQUEL, HEAD OF DEVELOPMENT FOR LVMH’S MÉTIERS D’EXCELLENCE DIVISION

As part of the showcase at Salle Pleyel, which drew 1,400 people, it unveiled a scale model of the project by paper artist Hannah Levesque.


“In terms of the look and feel of this space, we will try not to make it too imposing or majestic, but rather welcoming, because we also want to attract the kind of people who don’t feel comfortable walking into luxury stores, and in particular Gen Z, who love luxury brands but can feel very intimidated,” Boquel said.


The center will also highlight the ways that houses are using technology to spur innovation.


“It’s extremely important to talk about that, because when we talk to young people, they’re always afraid that these are jobs from 200 years ago and they won’t be able to relate. Letting them know that these professions also use digital technology reassures them,” he explained.


Gaemperle said the group is open to applicants of all origins and abilities. For instance, Guerlain has hired five youths with autism at its cosmetics factory in Chartres. “Not only have they met their targets, but they have evolved towards other roles,” she reported.


Meanwhile, the Institut des Métiers d’Excellence is launching a new course called Access Retail to train people with disabilities to become sales advisers, Boquel said.


LVMH had announced in 2017 plans for a center dedicated to artists, live performances and the applied arts, to be located inside the former Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires in the Bois de Boulogne.

Originally set to open in late 2018, it was due to include an academy of fine arts and craftsmanship.


Gaemperle said that project was still moving ahead. “There is a large renovation underway, but we didn’t want to wait,” she said. “We also realized that compared to other institutions who have done this outside of Paris, there is an added attraction [to being in a central location].”


Chanel last year inaugurated Le19M, its hub for its specialty workshops, on the border between Paris and its northern suburb of Aubervilliers. Meanwhile, Hermès in 2013 opened a sprawling facility for craftspeople, creative teams, service personnel and communications staff in the suburb of Pantin.


Boquel expects the Maison des Métiers d’Excellence to benefit from being close to La Galerie de Dior, the French fashion house’s permanent exhibition space, and other major attractions. “Being in central Paris is absolutely key,” he said, adding that he expects between 300 and 350 visitors a day on average.


“I know that the majority of visitors won’t become craftspeople, to be honest. It might be 30 percent, or 20 percent or 15 percent, but it doesn’t matter because first of all, we’ll be happy to have those 15 percent if it can solve our recruitment problems. And secondly, it’s extremely important to help people understand what we do,” Boquel said.


“People want to know what is behind our products, and what are our concerns in terms of the environment, society and human resources. Revealing this to the general public will help to better understand the value chain of high-quality products,” he added.






https://wwd.com/business-news/human-resources/lvmh-to-open-dedicated-center-for-craftsmanship-in-paris-1235878184/


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