LVMH awards 40 virtuoso artisans its Métier d’Excellence award
Praising them as “the beating heart” LVMH’s CEO Bernard Arnault celebrated, at a distance, the latest virtuoso artisans to win the luxury conglomerate’s Métier d’Excellence award on Wednesday.
Staged inside, the Salle Pleyel concert hall, the artisans came from all manner of skills – gold leafers, bagmakers, makeup artists and ironworkers within LVMH, the Paris-based group that controls some 75 luxury brands.
As part of its policy known as Show Me Immersion, LVMH has sent teams out to lycées (high-schools) throughout France to present its multiple artisanal métiers. It estimates there are some 280 métiers within LVMH, which controls such stellar brands as Dior, Vuitton, Givenchy, Fendi, Pucci, Bulgari, Tiffany, Veuve Clicquot et Möet & Chandon champagnes and Hennessy cognac.
The project’s ambassador is Tony Parker, France’s most famous basketball player, who rose to become the playmaker of the San Antonio Spurs, which wone four NBA titles.
“I am animated by transmission, by giving back to the next generation to create opportunities. So, I feel lucky to have linked up with LVMH. I tell all the young people in my (basketball) academy that if you have a dream and tell it to someone and they don’t mock you, then you are not dreaming high enough. When I told people as a kid that I wanted to be first European playmaker in an NBA team, they mocked me. ‘How could a skinny kid like you ever manage that!’ they would say,” he chuckled.
In a touching moment on stage, he interviewed Zinedine, a young man from Montpellier who had flunked out of school, became an electrician, tried the Foreign Legion and ended up on the streets, before a charity called La Refuge took him in. Which helped him attend an LVMH presentation leading on to entrance into Paris fashion school IFM.
“And now I am doing an apprenticeship with Dior. I’d never have imagined that,” he smiled to great applause from the audience of 1,500.
One LVMH brand particularly focused on artisan skills is Loewe, whose creative director Jonathan Anderson, explained that after realizing he wasn’t good enough to be an actor he began doing window dressing and making costumes. “Fashion was something I fell into,” joked Anderson on stage.
Since becoming designer of Loewe, his creativity has been based on his own early obsession with “learning how things were made or working out how they got there. Starting with ceramics, which my grandfather used to collect. I was very lucky to end with a brand that was all about that.”
The driving force behind the whole Métiers d’Excellence project is Chantal Gaemperle, LVMH director of human resources and synergies, who in an opening address listed five pillars: raise awareness, orientate, train, develop potential and add value.
“At a time when the luxury industry is experiencing shortages of personnel in certain craftmanship, sales or hospitality professions, it is absolutely essential to promote career opportunities in our 280 Métiers d’Excellence among young generations,” Gaemperle underlined.
One year ago, all the group’s brands signed a “WE for ME” (“Worldwide Engagements for Métiers d’Excellence”) manifesto. This year alone, LVMH has staged presentations to over 1,600, high school kids in France, while over 2,000 apprenticeships have been created by the extended company since 2014.
“This event shines a light on the source of our group’s enduring performance, namely the success of our artisanal products,” concluded Arnault in a video address.
Each of the virtuosos proudly receiving insignia brooches designed specially by Chaumet, a LVMH jeweler.
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