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Le Bon Marché Steps Up Personalization in Revamped Jewelry Space

Le Bon Marché Steps Up Personalization in Revamped Jewelry Space

PARIS — Le Bon Marché has unveiled its revamped and expanded jewelry space after a yearlong renovation.
Located on the ground floor and catty-corner to major luxury brands, the 3,200-square-foot space is now home to some 17 brands, ranging from French staples such as Gas Bijoux to new signatures like Spanish brand Simuero.

Simuero will be the first brand to inaugurate the new jewelry department’s central pop-up space, which is set under a circular gazebo that nods to Eiffel Tower-style metallic structures. There the brand will present its recycled-silver jewels handcrafted in the Mediterranean port city of Valencia.

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“This space will serve as a platform to capitalize on the already-emotional facet of jewelry,” said Le Bon Marché’s fashion jewelry buyer Joanne El Choueiri, with personalization taking pride of place among the offerings in the space.

These will range from a charms bar with Aurélie Bidermann, to permanent jewelry by Atelier VM and Vanrycke, which will also offer engraving services. French label Medaï will be on hand to personalize gold-plated and silver medals, also available in gemstones or lab-grown diamond options.

According to El Choueiri, this larger space, up from its previous 2,150-square-foot incarnation, stemmed from a desire to create a large jewelry section that would become a point of attraction but also offer a tighter curation that would reflect consumers’ taste and habits, including digital native brands that will find there their first and sometimes sole physical retail outpost.

“We leaned toward less brands but make them partners with whom we develop exclusive designs and services,” she said. Keeping the selection affordable — in sync with the current 200-euro average basket, with prices that hover under 100 euros on average, peaking around 2,000 euros for fine jewelry — was equally important.

“And we are aiming not to gender the space, although there is a strong female-oriented component at present, we will be giving space for brands that resonate more and more with a male audience.”

Inside the new dedicated jewelry space at Paris’ Le Bon Marché.

To match the conversation-starter angle of these designs, the fashion jewelry department was redesigned “to give a more direct rapport with the jewels, with the materials, and creating a face-to-face with the client,” said the department store’s new projects development manager Thierry Doré.

Surrounding the center podium will be curving low chests of drawers, also continued along the walls set with glass cabinets. A table designed by French modernist designer Jacques Adnet, previously in the men’s department, was dressed with a new leather desk pad, while a midcentury cabinet was brought in and revamped to fit its new destination.

That embodies another key idea Le Bon Marché is already sold on: being more sustainable in the way it conceives its spaces and furnishes them, which had already guided the renovation of the sneaker department in 2021 and the bag section in 2022.

First, more than 50 percent of existing materials have been reused in the new space, including some 2,000 square feet of hardwood flooring and 60 percent of the lighting. Then new materials include wood from sustainably managed forests and a reconstituted stone that can be broken apart and remade into fresh material, explained in-house interior designer Clara Blanchouin, who worked on the jewelry department with colleague Kevin Reynaud.

But that also means imagining how to take everything apart once the 10-year average duration for a set-up has passed, added Doré. To that end, mechanically assembled parts that avoid the use of glues, modular elements that can be customized and natural pigments were used.

“The day this space is old, elements are easier to dissociate, reused in parts but also discarded in cleaner ways if necessary,” he said.

LVMH Signs on as Premium Partner of Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games

LVMH Signs on as Premium Partner of Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games

PARIS – Capping months of speculation, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton on Monday signed on to become a premium partner of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, guaranteeing the world’s biggest luxury group prime visibility during the planetary event, including its eagerly awaited opening ceremony.
While LVMH did not disclose the financial terms of the sponsorship deal, sources with knowledge of the matter said it had put 150 million euros on the table. Organizers are billing the Paris Games as “the biggest event in the world,” expected to draw 4 billion TV viewers, 13 million spectators and 20,000 journalists.

Several major LVMH houses will play a special role during the Games, with jeweler Chaumet designing the medals, and Louis Vuitton, Dior, Berluti, Sephora and the Moët Hennessy wines and spirits division also taking part, the group said.

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In addition, LVMH will sponsor athletes including French swimmer Léon Marchand, who this weekend broke Michael Phelps’ last individual world record. Those relationships will pave the way for sports stars to ink brand ambassador contracts with its houses.

“This unprecedented partnership with the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games will contribute to heightening the appeal of France around the world. It was only natural that LVMH and its maisons be part of this exceptional international event,” LVMH chairman and chief executive officer Bernard Arnault said in a statement.

“The values of passion, excellence and inclusion championed by high-level sports are cultivated each day by our teams, motivated by an unwavering desire to surpass limits. Sports is a tremendous source of inspiration for our maisons, which will unite creative excellence and athletic performance by contributing their savoir-faire and bold innovation to this extraordinary celebration,” he added.

The Paris 2024 Olympic Committee was keen to sign LVMH as it inches closer to its target of 1.4 billion euros in sponsorship deals, out of a total budget of 4.4 billion euros.

Antoine Arnault, head of communication, image and environment at LVMH, described the negotiations as a courtship dance that lasted more than a year.

“Such an important and wide-ranging partnership is a first for LVMH, so there were long negotiations, not only with the International Olympic Committee and the Paris 2024 Olympic Committee, but also internally to work out the best way to develop this partnership,” he told WWD in an interview on Monday at the headquarters of Berluti, where he is CEO.

“It was important for us to be a know-how partner, and a partner that really contributes something to these Olympic and Paralympic Games, and not just a sponsor who signs a check and then completely steps back from the event,” he said. “When you think about the amounts that have been committed, it does not seem disproportionate either in terms of time spent.”

Arnault said the thorny issue of international rights had been resolved. Unlike global partners such as Coca-Cola, Omega or P&G, premium partners earn marketing rights for the country where the event is held. LVMH joins a cohort that includes retailer Carrefour and telecommunications operator Orange.

“These games take place in France and the visibility will start from France, but we obviously have international rights. We can’t tell you exactly and in detail everything that has been negotiated, but you will find out as the partnership is unveiled,” Arnault said.

While the LVMH logo will appear on sponsorship materials, another sticking point was defining the precise roles of its various brands as purveyors of specialized know-how, under the tag line “Artisan of All Victories.” Arnault said it was important to respect existing partnerships, which explains why none of its watch brands will be taking an active role.

Chaumet will design the medals, due to be unveiled early next year. “It’s the first time that a jeweler has designed medals, in association with the Paris Mint,” Arnault said.

He hinted that Dior would be in the spotlight during the opening ceremony, due to take place on July 26, 2024. For the first time in the history of the Summer Olympic Games, the event — conceived by artistic director Thomas Jolly — will take place not in a stadium but on the Seine River and in key locations in central Paris.

“We are the craftsmanship partner of these Olympic Games, and craftsmanship and know-how being one of the specificities of France, almost a question of national pride, this ceremony across Paris will have different themes and moments, and we hope that one of those moments will spotlight France’s craftsmanship, know-how and creative outlook,” Arnault said.

Moët Hennessy, home to 25 wines and spirits brands including Moët & Chandon Champagne, Hennessy cognac and Château d’Yquem wine, will provide its wares as part of hospitality programs. While French law prohibits the sale of alcohol in the sports stadiums and other venues where Olympic events will be held next summer, there are exceptions for VIP suites.

“There are private hospitality zones across Paris in which Moët Hennessy’s products will be available,” said Arnault, noting these were not limited to competition spaces.  

Beauty retailer Sephora will be a partner for the Olympic Torch Relay, set to kick off in the southern French city of Marseille on May 8, and will offer activations for the public all along the relay route, as well as at group locations along the itinerary and at stops.

While Arnault declined to comment on the role of Vuitton, the world’s biggest luxury brand has a history of sports collaborations, producing trophy cases for partners including the NBA, America’s Cup, the FIFA World Cup and the Rugby World Cup, and extending into esports via a partnership with Riot Games, the maker of the “League of Legends” video game.

The brand is likely to have some involvement with the Olympic medal ceremonies, sources said.

Meanwhile, Arnault said Berluti could dress the French delegation for the opening and closing ceremonies, since these are not covered by French athletic brand Le Coq Sportif’s contract as official supplier of the French Olympic and Paralympic team uniforms, designed by Pigalle Paris founder Stéphane Ashpool.

In addition to Marchand, who set a new record on Saturday in the 400 meters individual medley at the World Aquatics Championships in Japan, LVMH expects to partner with another four or five athletes, Arnault said. They will benefit from financial support and privileged introductions to the group’s houses.  

“They will not wear an LVMH logo,” he said. “It’s the start of a relationship and after that, they will be able to forge links more specifically with the houses they’re interested in. They become LVMH athletes and then, gradually, this will spread across the group through their meetings and interactions with the various houses and their leaders.”

Vuitton has been stepping up its partnerships with sports stars. Last year, its campaign featuring soccer stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo playing chess went viral, and it recently signed tennis phenomenon Carlos Alcaraz as brand ambassador. Meanwhile, Dior’s current campaign for the Lady 95.22 handbag features champion wheelchair fencer Beatrice “Bebe” Vio.

LVMH is also teaming up with one of its existing partners, French charity Secours populaire français, on an initiative to enable access to sports for 1,000 children and young people aged four to 25 who live in vulnerable situations. The group will provide funding for sports association memberships, training programs and beginner classes.

Tony Estanguet, president of the Paris 2024 Olympic Committee, told a press conference last week that it had recently crossed the threshold of 1 billion euros in sponsorship deals, and expects to end the year with 92 percent of the partnership budget secured.

“From the very outset of our project we have wanted the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games to contribute to promoting the image of our country and France’s many remarkable talents. Today, with the LVMH group, Paris 2024 has taken a decisive step forward,” he said in the statement.

He noted that in 2016, LVMH was one of the official sponsors of the French capital’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

“With its exceptional know-how, the LVMH group will bring its immensely creative talent to this project and enable us to benefit from its extensive experience. This partnership also sends a powerful signal that France’s leading businesses are behind the Paris 2024 Games, which will let our country shine brightly around the entire world,” Estanguet said.

With revenues of 79.2 billion euros in 2022, LVMH may seem well-placed to support the Games, but Antoine Arnault emphasized it was a first for the luxury group.

LVMH has been stepping up its efforts to be seen as a good corporate citizen amid mounting anti-rich sentiment in France, which was shaken by a series of violent protests this spring against the government’s pension reform, including a demonstration in April that spilled over into its corporate headquarters on Avenue Montaigne.

“I know we’re the biggest French company, but we never do this kind of huge partnership at group level, simply because our group is like a confederation of houses, so it doesn’t really make sense,” he said.

“We’re doing it for the first time out of a sense of responsibility, because we think it’s important that as ambassadors for France, we are present for these Games which promise to be exceptional in Paris. It’s also a source of pride to represent France and to be a partner of this planetary event which will be a showcase for France throughout 2024,” he said.

Arnault minimized the expected disruption caused by the Games, which have prompted the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, French fashion’s governing body, to move forward the dates of the fall 2024 edition of Paris Couture Week.

“We’ll work around it,” he said. “We have made it through COVID-19, we have overcome worse things than the traffic disruption caused by the Olympic Games.”

He said the group’s 75 houses had already requested tickets for their staff and partners to attend events, indicating that despite grousing from Parisians about the cost and impact of the event, there will be strong domestic support for the Games.

“Athletes and craftspeople have a lot of things in common: a passion for perfecting repeated gestures, always wanting to do better, and these important moments which for the athlete is the day of the competition, and for the craftspeople, the launch of a product,” he noted. “The closer we get to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the more it feels like it was meant to be.”

LVMH Kicks Off Recruitment Tour With Tony Parker in Paris

LVMH Kicks Off Recruitment Tour With Tony Parker in Paris

PARIS — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton kicked off its five-city “You and Me” recruitment roadshow to attract young people into the luxury professions, with an opening exposition at Paris’ Palais Brongniart.
For good measure, there was a “rock star” of sorts, with Tony Parker on hand to sign autographs and take selfies with young fans. The basketball star spoke from the main stage and emphasized that the métiers d’art are “not reserved for the elite.”

Parker’s Lyon-based Adequat Academy has long partnered with LVMH to offer alternate career paths to student athletes who excel in their sport but might not make it to the big leagues. Parker frames it as helping kids “create another passion” and have additional opportunities.

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“A lot of kids have no idea they can work with Dior, think it’s too high or you have to have a great degree. Knowing that and seeing the kids with stars in their eyes, like, ‘Wow, can I really work at a place like that?’ So that’s our job, to expose them to possibilities and knowledge,” he told WWD.

Students excitedly buzzed around, watching demonstrations from artisans and couturiers representing brands including Celine, Dior, and Louis Vuitton.

The morning recruitment session was focused on students from 13 to 18 years old, and welcomed more than 2,100 people throughout the day-long event.

“It’s a difficult age when you have to face difficult questions about what you want to do in life,” said Chantal Gaemperle, LVMH Group executive vice president of human resources and synergies. “So we believe in bringing concrete solutions, and bringing in people that those young people can relate to, identify with, that can open up their minds and give them a perspective they didn’t have before.”

Inside the fair the company gamified the floor plan to better appeal to the young crowd. QR codes led guests through the different displays, while a quiz could be completed at the end for a spot on the scoreboard. They also used VR headsets in an interactive display to walk potential recruits through a factory floor.

Gaemperle said the biggest challenges of recruitment are that many young people who are growing up with screens haven’t heard of handicrafts and don’t have an understanding of what an artisan is. Another challenge is that students often come in saying they want to be a fashion designer, but don’t understand all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating couture or a bag. The program aims to expand their understanding of luxury brands, what Gaemperle calls “awakening vocation.” Students leave with new ideas of what might be possible for them, she added.

More than just a display of luxury brands, there were booths from the French government employment department and a particularly popular section for seminars on how to prepare job applications, as well as one-on-one coaching from counselors on how to prepare a résumé.

This year the company also developed an app so that interested parties can fill out questionnaires, do online tests and help them establish their job profiles.

Students at the LVMH event.


Gaemperle emphasized that the company recruits from all ages, including older workers looking to retrain in long-term handicraft careers.

“We are looking at a diverse, broad base because what we need is skilled people,” she said. “Basically the success of our group, we often say, is built on the talents first of all and the craftsmanship that we have.”

As luxury continues its unabated growth, LVMH and other houses have plenty of positions to fill. The program has more than doubled its capacity from 1,200 last year to 3,500 positions to recruit in France, particularly in serving those high-end clients. More than 2,000 client-experience slots need to be filled, more than 460 artisans are needed as well as 85 in creative positions. Nine hundred internships are available, including 190 artisans and 150 in creatives.

Filling those client-facing positions is of utmost importance right now, added Gaemperle. These jobs are typically undervalued, she said, and they are working to give a greater focus on these positions, particularly as retail must add customer service in a competitive, omnichannel world.

“In this context, the client-facing jobs become only more and more important,” she said, noting that pandemic changes created a “disaffection” for careers in retail. However, human interaction and brand story are the core of the company.

“If you are a client you want to find the right reason to physically go to a store, you want to live an exceptional experience. We have developed luxury retail [as] the art of welcoming clients and the art of being able to tell a story, to understand the products, origins, how it has been made. So we put a lot of emphasis on these careers.”

For his part, Parker encourages kids to dream big. “If you tell your dream to somebody and they’re not laughing at you, you aren’t dreaming big enough,” he joked. Parker relayed the story of a student who recently said he hopes to be the chief executive officer of Dior one day. “Everyone in the room — like 800 people — was laughing but I was like, great. I hope I can inspire a whole generation of kids who want to be in those positions and dream big.”

The appointment of music artist Pharrell Williams as the new creative director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s division is a great example of dreaming big, Parker said. “It just shows how creative this house is and they’re not afraid to take a risk. You never know what will happen,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy to go after Virgil Abloh, so it’s a pretty big deal.”

Parker is set to open a second academy outside of Paris in 2025. The new school will repurpose facilities built for the 2024 Olympic Games, a situation that will be a win-win for the region as well as the academy. He will be partnering with LVMH again on the project, which will have a complementary curriculum to his school in Lyon. Parker added that he is carefully considering expanding his educational facilities.

“We have propositions in Africa and in China, who want to use our concept and everything that we have created with this academy. We have offers on the table,” he said. “But for me it is about choosing the right partners that can grow and make it last for a lot of years.”

The “You and Me” tour will hit Reims on March 3; Orleans March 7; Clichy-Sous-Bois March 15, and finish in Lyon on March 29.

While not strictly part of the “You and Me” program, LVMH has started similar recruitment in other regions. Gaemperle noted that in the U.S., they integrated the first apprentice classes for Tiffany & Co., which tripled registration in one year. That initiative, as well as others in six countries, are being implemented to support the overall global need to fill 15,200 positions in 2023.

Students at the LVMH event.


LVMH’s Sidney Toledano Talks Recruiting the Next Generation of Luxury Artisans

LVMH’s Sidney Toledano Talks Recruiting the Next Generation of Luxury Artisans

PARIS — Luxury association Comité Colbert brought brands and big names together to promote careers in craftsmanship to students.
Sidney Toledano, LVMH Fashion Group chair and newly elected president of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, joined French Minister of Culture Rima Abdul Malak on stage, along with Minister for Education and Vocational Training Carole Grandjean and Minister for Small and Medium Enterprises, Trade, Crafts and Tourism Olivia Gregoire.

The afternoon panel closed the three-day educational fair “Les de(ux)mains du luxe,” Comité Colbert’s clever play on words referencing the future of handicrafts.

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Despite business booming for the luxury sector, companies across the board have expressed difficulty in recruiting young artisans to carry forward traditional methods.

Toledano reminded the crowd that Louis Vuitton, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior and Louis-François Cartier were all artisans before they were “designers.”

“They were artisans, they were entrepreneurs, they were storytellers,” he said. “Their business power rested on their savoir faire.”

Toledano was careful to note that the day’s event was to continue the ongoing quest for education and elevation of craft. He said that in his youth he grew up surrounded by artisans, but young people today are more separated from craft.

“It’s a problem that exists for our industry,” he said. “How we transmit to the next generation is a real question — is it stronger word of mouth, marketing, storytelling? — to transmit the opportunities of these careers.”

Toledano said it’s the responsibility of government programs and the private sector luxury companies to raise the status of craftsmanship careers.

“The métiers de la main need to be reinvented and young people need to discover the métiers d’art — they are in constant evolution, innovation and we need to transmit the idea of savoir faire,” said Minister Malak.

Malak said the French government is committed to five pillars of promotion for craftsmanship: spreading knowledge of the professions; education and internships alongside experienced craftspeople; investing in innovation and new technology to transmit age-old techniques before the disappear; ensuring crafts are not just centered in Paris but dispersed throughout France, and finally, that they grow internationally as well.

She cited cross-cultural programs to promote French craftsmanship in the U.S. and Japan and said the government is establishing residency programs in Africa and China to train artisans abroad.

“There’s a great potential of not just exporting our French savoir faire, but also learning from other countries and creating exchanges and cooperating with them, because it’s also this cooperation that will help reaching new markets, new citizens that are interested in it, and also pushing the boundaries of sustainability in this field and innovation in this field,” said Malak.

Other guests included LVMH director of craftsmanship development Alexandre Boquel, Van Cleef & Arpels president Nicolas Bos, Christofle president Emilie Metge and Hermès director of human resources Vincent Vaillant.

“Luxury is one of the things France is most known for — along with maybe football and cooking,” joked Christofle’s Metge. “We know how to celebrate luxury and savoir faire, but the most important thing we have to keep in mind is that luxury, without the next generation, can die out.”

Panelists agreed that government investment in manufacturing is important, but that educating and recruiting the next generation is key to keeping luxury alive. While business has been booming and luxury companies have been recording record profits, recruitment remains a weak link.

All of the panelists agreed that while craftsmanship is at the core, communication is the key.

“We have to be able to transmit to the next gen to be sure that we can stay at the top level of manufacturing and the way to design products and luxury goods,” said Metge, adding that luxury cannot continue to gate keep.

“We need to transmit to the new generation, but be sure that you don’t ‘own’ the savoir faire and that you are here to pass it on to the next generation. Be more democratic — able to talk to any generation and not only in one luxury, very high and elitist category, but we need to talk to teenagers. This is the most important message that we want to have today,” she added.

Students tend to focus on the ideas of being a designer or stylist, but students interested in the art of fashion often don’t know about the work that goes on behind the scenes.

“These types of professions, in the past, have been hidden,” said LVMH’s Boquel. “There’s been an opposition between the abstract professions versus the manual professions. The best way to change this is to communicate about the image we have. We want to showcase the beauty of the professions and to explain that there is expansion of development for talent. It’s a huge opportunity for you to create your professional path within luxury.”

Following the panel, Toledano toured the room at Paris’ innovation hub Station F, visiting various stations from some of the 23 luxury brands on show. LVMH presented the programs of its Institut des Métiers d’Excellence, Van Cleef & Arpels offered a workshop to promote its L’Ecole des Arts Joailliers, while Cartier presented its Haute École de Joaillerie.

Léonard demonstrated pattern making, Chanel showed the creation of a bag, and Christofle demonstrated gilding techniques.

Toledano even stopped by the Dior display to speak with a seamstress who was working on a tulle couture gown.

The event wrapped up a three-day educational fair that brought more than 4,000 students to learn about métiers d’art at the hands of the luxury fashion houses.

French Event Organizer Françoise Dumas Reflects on Life as ‘Mistress of Ceremonies’

French Event Organizer Françoise Dumas Reflects on Life as ‘Mistress of Ceremonies’

For more than four decades, Françoise Dumas was swept up in a whirl of charity galas, luxury launches and state dinners. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and the event organizer’s professional activity came screeching to a halt.
Dumas was at her holiday home in Comporta, Portugal, when the first lockdowns were announced and decided to remain there instead of returning to Paris, France.

The forced break allowed her to take stock and write a book, “Mistress of Ceremonies,” recently published in French by Grasset, in which she recounts the parties she’s planned for luminaries like luxury magnate Bernard Arnault, designer Karl Lagerfeld, Princess Caroline of Monaco and former presidential couple Jacques and Bernadette Chirac.

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Now Dumas is back in action, with events like the annual Société des Amis du Musée d’Orsay gala dinner, but she reckons the world will never be the same again.

“I’m at a turning point in my life, but it’s not just due to my age. I think we’re at a turning point in society too, aren’t we?” she says tentatively over a cappuccino at the Ritz hotel in Paris. “It’s strange, very strange. I really feel like things are completely changing. But I’m not the person to organize Zoom dinners in the metaverse. I prefer living matter.”

Françoise Dumas at the entrance of the Elysée presidential palace in Paris.

Courtesy of Françoise Dumas

Dumas could be forgiven for thinking she’s part of a dying breed. There’s only a handful of great society hostesses left in Paris, including her friend Countess Jacqueline de Ribes, Sisley cofounder Countess Isabelle d’Ornano and Hélène David-Weill, all of whom belong to a generation well-versed in the codes of entertaining à la française.

“I wonder if the young generations will be as interested in this traditional art of living,” ponders Dumas, whose book details the arcane rules for hosts and guests, from the court of King Louis XIV to the present day (who knew that a dinner napkin should always be folded in half before being placed on your lap?).  

“I wanted to recall certain rules that I feel are important for a pleasant and courteous life,” she says in her signature affable delivery. “I feel that you can’t just do as you please.”

Dumas has always been drawn to the social whirl. Born in 1939, she spent her early years in the Loire region, largely shielded from the effects of World War II. As a child, she developed a passion for history, through regular visits to the area’s famous castles, and practiced organizing receptions with her doll’s tea set.

The dinner for the opening of the “From the Great Mughals to the Maharajas. Jewels from the Al Thani collection” exhibition.

Courtesy of Françoise Dumas

Her imagination was fueled by fantasies of the great masked balls hosted by the likes of Étienne de Beaumont, Alexis de Redé and Carlos de Beistegui in the 1920s and 1930s. By the time Dumas started working for event organizers in the ‘60s, however, those socialite gatherings were a distant memory, replaced by buzzy film premieres, like the 1962 party for “The Longest Day,” which culminated with a concert by Edith Piaf on the Eiffel Tower.

Dumas wanted in, but as a junior in the office of Georges Cravenne, the man who launched the Césars ceremony, France’s equivalent to the Oscars, she was relegated to the accounts that nobody else wanted: jewelers, perfumers and fashion designers, who at the time were considered minor clients and disparagingly referred to as “suppliers.”

Little did she know that she was laying the foundations for the agency she would go on to found with her business partner Anne Roustang in 1980. Her first fragrance launch was for Valentino in 1978 and took the shape of a gala for Roland Petit’s new ballet for Mikhail Baryshnikov, followed by dinner at Maxim’s.

“I think it was the first time that the launch of a luxury product was tied to a cultural event and it was a great success,” Dumas recalls.

Her meeting with Arnault came to define a large portion of her career, with Dumas helping the head of luxury group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton to host events, including the blowout launch of Dior’s Dune fragrance in 1991 at the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, and the 1996 Met Gala, which Princess Diana attended in John Galliano’s first haute couture design for the French fashion house.

Françoise Dumas behind Bernard Arnault and Princess Diana at a charity dinner in Paris in 1995.

Courtesy of Françoise Dumas

Dumas says legendary WWD boss John B. Fairchild credited her with burnishing the image of Arnault — whose frenzied acquisition of luxury brands in the 1980s and 1990s earned him the nickname “the wolf in a cashmere coat” — by masterminding the gala events he sponsored for charities headed by former French first lady Claude Pompidou and later Madame Chirac.

“Alongside [Arnault’s] conquering or combative side, there was his patronage and support for social or cultural causes,” she says. “When we started working together, I would always say to him, ‘Monsieur, you want to create the world’s largest luxury group. It would be wonderful to perpetuate this French art of living.’ And that’s what he’s done with his brands.”

Dumas also takes credit for popularizing one of Dior’s bestsellers, the Lady Dior handbag.

“This is a true story,” she announces with a smile, going on to explain that Bernadette Chirac asked her to pick a gift from the Dior boutique for the Princess of Wales, who was expected for tea at the Elysée presidential palace during a 1995 visit to France.

“I had noticed a little bag, which at the time was made of fabric, and so I had it wrapped and sent to the Elysée. I phoned Monsieur Arnault to let him know, and he said, ‘Recall the bag immediately.’ Why? Because he was working on a prototype in leather. He had it finished overnight, and the leather version was sent instead,” she says.

Eventually, the bag was so closely associated with Princess Diana, who was still referred to as Lady Diana in France despite her royal title, that it was renamed in her honor.

While Dumas has always sought the company of the great and the good, she is clear on her position in the ecosystem.

“I found my place as an organizer and as a kind of reference, but I never tried to become a great socialite. That was never my intention,” she explains. “I think of people and always try to give them an instant of beauty and happiness. We always try to create moments that will become special memories. That’s really important.”

Françoise Dumas curtsies for Queen Elizabeth II at a French state dinner in 2004.

Courtesy of Françoise Dumas

Nonetheless, she admits to being star-struck on at least one occasion: the 2004 state dinner where she met the late Queen Elizabeth II.

“I loved Madame Chirac. I was very close to her and we did a lot of events together, and one day I mentioned that I would be thrilled to attend a state dinner. I thought that she might invite me for a president that would draw a smaller crowd. A few days later, she called and said, ‘Would you like to attend the dinner for the Queen of England?’” she recalls.

Dumas and Roustang dressed in their finery and hit the red carpet. “What was very funny is that we were attending as guests, but once inside the Elysée, people were so used to seeing us there as event organizers that they kept asking us for directions,” she says.

She pulls out a folder of glossy photographs, pointing to the shot where she curtsies for the Queen. “Look at her gaze — she looks at you as if she’s known you forever,” Dumas marvels.

From her 12 years of organizing events at the presidential palace she has gained an unparalleled knowledge of diplomatic etiquette, which she combines with an encyclopedic awareness of the ins and outs of Paris society — though don’t expect her to dish any gossip, beyond some amusing anecdotes about narrowly averted seating disasters.

“We’re like a switchboard, so obviously we’re aware of a lot of things that we’re not at liberty to disclose, but if you want a party to succeed and there is a seated dinner, you’ve got to know how to place guests. That’s one of my favorite parts of the job,” she says. “If you get your seating right, people have a good time.”

Dumas still uses a system of cards — blue for men, pink for women — that she fixes with paper clips, allowing for last-minute reshuffles. “It’s like a battle plan,” she says, dismissing computerized alternatives. “I will never get rid of my cards.”

Françoise Dumas works on seating charts at a Valentino event in Rome.

Courtesy of Françoise Dumas

Dumas, who organized the nuptials of Prince Albert II of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock in 2011, is used to directing battalions of chefs, waiters, florists and decorators. “Sometimes there are more people behind the scenes than there are guests, so you really have to treat these events like a big film production,” she says.

She lovingly describes her most spectacular events, held in locations including the Château de Versailles, and the Forbidden City in Beijing.

“When you find yourself all alone in the galleries at Versailles, it’s extraordinary. The first time, I stood in front of the portrait of Louis XIV that is in every French child’s history schoolbook. I was enthralled. It was fascinating. The two great joys of my job are the people and the incredible places that belong to you for a few hours,” she says.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, she’s mulling the future of her agency, Françoise Dumas-Anne Roustang & associés. “I’m going through a bout of soul-searching. I would say that I really loved what I did, and I tried to do it to the best of my ability,” she says.

“I compare it to what Chanel is doing with its Métiers d’Art houses. This is like a métier d’art, and maybe this tradition needs to be modernized, but we need to keep it alive,” Dumas continues. “There are very large event production offices now, because the activity has grown over time, but I don’t think anyone has my experience as a hostess.”

In her bedroom, Dumas keeps a photograph of herself as a little girl. She confides: “I often talk to this little girl and I ask her, ‘Are you happy with what you did?’”  

Françoise Dumas

Courtesy of Françoise Dumas

Repossi Designs Limited-Edition Ring for Cheval Blanc Hotels

Repossi Designs Limited-Edition Ring for Cheval Blanc Hotels

As global tourism continues to ramp up, Repossi and Cheval Blanc have linked on a limited-edition design that celebrates Cheval Blanc’s signature color to be sold in luxury gift shops.

Cheval Blanc, part of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s hotel management division, has five locations across the world — including Paris, St. Barths, St. Tropez, Randheli and Courchevel.

Repossi creative director Gaia Repossi reinterpreted the maison’s Berbere ring, with its trademark stacked bands, to reflect Cheval Blanc’s sophisticated, global mentality.

For the collaboration, Repossi covered the larger of its Berbere Chromatic ring’s two bands in a taupe lacquer. Set in 18-karat pink gold, the design also featured 38 pavé diamonds, weighing a total of 0.34 carats. It will retail for 3,900 euros, or about $3,815, and is available for purchase next month within Cheval Blanc’s gift shops.

“This ring is the new take on our chromatic ring for Cheval Blanc, it evokes a nude chic neutral shade that evokes travels and a timeless color among our palettes. I’m very excited about this presence of our classic emblematic rings in these beautiful locations of all Cheval Blanc,” said Repossi.

Kering Sales Rise 23% in Q3 as U.S. Tourists Splurge in Europe

Kering Sales Rise 23% in Q3 as U.S. Tourists Splurge in Europe

PARIS – French luxury group Kering said sales rose 23 percent in the third quarter, fueled by a stellar performance in Western Europe, where U.S. tourists have been splurging as a result of the weakness of the euro against the U.S. dollar. 
Its cash cow brand Gucci continued to underperform versus the group’s other brands, although organic sales picked up their growth pace in the three months ending Sept. 30. Revenues at the Italian label totaled 2.6 billion euros, up 9 percent on a like-for-like basis, following a 4 percent rise in the second quarter. 

That was slightly below a consensus of analyst estimates, which called for a 10 percent increase in comparable sales at the maker of Dionysus handbags and horsebit loafers. By comparison, organic sales at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s key fashion and leather goods division rose 22 percent year-over-year in the third quarter.

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Reporting first-half results after the market close on Thursday, Kering said group revenues in the third quarter totaled 5.14 billion euros, representing a rise of 14 percent in comparable terms. This was up versus the second quarter, and above the consensus forecast for a 12 percent sales rise.

The group, whose brands also include Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and Balenciaga, said revenue in its directly operated store network continued to grow at a rapid pace, up 19 percent on a comparable basis. 

Western Europe posted a 74 percent jump. Conversely, North America was up just 1 percent, further penalized by a high comparison base. Japan saw a 31 percent increase, while Asia-Pacific posted growth of 7 percent, despite ongoing restrictions in Mainland China designed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“We delivered sharp top-line growth, both versus last year and from pre-pandemic levels. Our ongoing focus on the exclusivity of our brands and on the quality of their distribution are yielding very positive results and reinforce their positioning in their key markets,” François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Kering, said in a statement. 

“In an increasingly complex environment, we maintain the required flexibility to support our profitability and sustain our investments in the long-term outlook of all our houses, Gucci first and foremost. We are as confident as ever in the potential and prospects of the group,” he added.

Kering’s share price has fallen by 35 percent since the start of the year against the backdrop of looming recession, surging inflation, supply chain disruptions, Chinese lockdowns and the war in Ukraine. But Luca Solca, analyst at Bernstein Research, believes its current valuation is fair due to the potential of the group’s smaller brands.

“The ‘small’ Kering brands are not so small any more, as they represent a larger portion of Kering’s profits,” he said in a report dated Sept. 21. Solca noted that the non-Gucci brands accounted for 28 percent of EBIT in the 2021 financial year, up from 20 percent in 2010, with absolute profits tripling in the same period. 

“The Gucci relaunch will take some time, in all likelihood. But in the meantime the ‘small’ Kering brands continue to shine. At this valuation level, and with the prospect of a boost from China reopening next year to outbound travel, it is difficult to be bearish on Kering. Even if it may not produce significant positive surprises short-term, the relative downside seems limited from here,” he said. 

Kering said recently it is targeting revenues of 15 billion euros at Gucci. It also outlined Saint Laurent’s potential to become a megabrand, with a medium-term revenue target of 5 billion euros, double the 2.5 billion euros in sales registered last year. 

The Kering results come on the heels of figures from Hermès International earlier in the day showing sales at constant exchange rates rose 24 percent in the July-to-September period, with double-digit revenue gains across all regions. Meanwhile, LVMH reported its sales grew 19 percent in the quarter on an organic basis, in line with the trends observed in the first half of the year.

Fendi RTW Spring 2023

Fendi RTW Spring 2023

Silvia Venturini Fendi, with her uniform of shirt jackets, pants and heirloom jewelry, is the picture of “functional utility alongside femininity.”

Those four words sum up how Kim Jones characterizes his exploration at Fendi, and the core of the spring collection, his youngest and sprightliest effort yet for the Roman house, full of zesty colors, sexy shapes and a keen sense of fun.

The British designer has always said the women in his inner circle are his touchstones and sounding boards at Fendi, headlined by Venturini Fendi and her daughter Defina Delettrez Fendi, also his chief creative accomplices. And the initial feedback suggests the cargo pants are a hit.

Done up in satin and with the same double-F hardware found on the Baguette bag, whose 25th anniversary Jones just marked at a blowout show in New York with Marc Jacobs as his co-conspirator, these pants are likely to be seen on many off-duty models next season. Ditto the rubber platform shoes in quirky colors like mint — and the Rolls-Royce of jeans jackets, in closely cropped shearling and irresistible in camel.

The late Karl Lagerfeld, who designed Fendi’s fur and ready-to-wear for more than 50 years, is another guiding light for Jones, who homed in on the German designer’s collections from 1996 to 2002. He reprised a floral print and a logo from those years, and its overall spirit of “minimalist ease and pop-infused eclecticism,” according to the press notes.

“We go back and we look at everything — and then I pull out the things that I think are relevant,” Jones explained backstage before the show, explaining that he added in the vivid pinks, blues and greens afterwards to spice up the house’s base palette of neutrals.

While the shapes were pared down, the materials were not. Cue tabard-simple tops and dresses made of intricately woven leather, and T-shirt dresses and tops knitted from recycled mink.

Jones also had a strong feeling for satin this season, employed for sinuous dresses, skirts and apron-like appendages, but also as the lining for nip-waisted jackets and pencil skirts so meticulously finished they can be worn inside-out.

Obi-style belts threaded through the notched waists of coats and jackets looked a bit tricky, but signaled that Jones is starting to introduce elements from Fendi’s couture runway.

The designer also reached back to 1994 and brought back a leather version of a paper Fendi shopping bag, adding a chunky chain to give it a 2023 touch.

Most of the other bags were small, including a more rigid, architectural version of the Peekaboo and a minuscule version of the Fendi First, Jones’ first “It” bag, slung on a necklace and able to hold perhaps a few Tic Tacs.

Le Bon Marché Turns 170 in a Burst of Orange

Le Bon Marché Turns 170 in a Burst of Orange

ORANGE YOU GLAD: Le Bon Marché is celebrating its 170th anniversary with a burst of color, unleashing its signature orange color throughout the store in playful pop-ups filled with exclusive limited-edition products.
Visitors entering the Paris department store are greeted by an orange Mini Moke electric car with black seats, although with a price tag of 29,900 euros, it can be customized in any color. Further along is a ping pong table by Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek that will set you back just over 15,000 euros, though customers have been enjoying the odd game on it for free.

Indeed, it seems the bright Pop Art-style sets, designed by street artists Toqué Frères, lifted spirits the moment the temporary space opened to the public on Saturday.

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“There was a great mood in the store. Customers were smiling and I think that everyone suddenly wanted to be around the color orange. That vitamin D connotation really gives everyone a lift,” Jennifer Cuvillier, style director at Le Bon Marché, said on a guided tour of the exhibition, which runs until Oct. 16.

Le Bon Marché’s 170th anniversary animation designed by Toqué Frères.

Courtesy of Le Bon Marché.

The retailer, owned by luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has extended the spirit of celebration throughout the store, with a banquet table featuring colorful tableware designs by brands including Caroline de Benoist, Popolo, Willemien Bardawil and Fragonard.   

“The scene here after the opening on Saturday was nuts,” said Cuvillier. “We even heard a man telling his wife, ‘Honey, we’re going to have to move apartments because we need a bigger table.’”

Brands including Acne Studios, Roger Vivier, Cartier, Chloé and Moynat have designed orange ready-to-wear, bags and shoes especially for the event.

Animations include a La Fabrique a Popcorn stand and a coffee bar run by Le Café Nuances; a second-floor games space featuring a maze and a tombola; a Kure Bazaar nail art bar, a Kevin Murphy hairstyling station, and a makeup bar featuring a rotation of brands including La Bouche Rouge, By Terry and Bobbi Brown.  

But the highlight no doubt will be the weekly immersive theater performance staged across the store on Friday and Saturday nights from Sept. 2 through Dec. 30. Some 30 actors will recreate the story of founders Aristide and Marguerite Boucicaut, which famously helped to inspire French author Émile Zola’s 19th century novel “Au Bonheur des Dames.”

Tickets for the two-hour performance can be booked on and partner ticketing platforms.  

A cake shaped like Le Bon Marché’s signature shopping bag available at the Paris department store’s Primo Piano restaurant.

Courtesy of Le Bon Marché.

Dior Brings Vacation Pop-up to Historic Italian Beach Club

Dior Brings Vacation Pop-up to Historic Italian Beach Club

LA DOLCE VITA: To celebrate the launch of its annual Dioriviera beach collection, Dior is taking over a portion of one of Italy’s most exclusive beach clubs, the Bagni Fiore near Portofino.Located in the bay of Paraggi where boats are banned, the historic location has played host to celebrities including Brigitte Bardot, Elizabeth Taylor and Maria Callas. Dior is customizing its bamboo-ornamented bar and lounge, as well as beach cabins and sunbeds, cushions and parasols, in a leaf-green version of its signature toile de Jouy pattern.
Guests can take advantage of a temporary Dior spa at water’s edge, a service that will also be available in gazebos installed in the gardens of the Splendido hotel in Portofino. The beach club and spas will open on Wednesday, in tandem with a Dior resort store in Paraggi selling ready-to-wear, bags, shoes and seasonal accessories, open since May 19.

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The pop-up Dior spa at the Splendid hotel.
Courtesy of Dior

The brand’s Escale à Portofino fragrance will be available in a limited edition featuring green toile de Jouy packaging, sold at the Splendido hotel, in selected stores in France and Italy, and online.
It’s the latest example of the growing synergies between the French fashion house and parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s hospitality division, which operates the Bagni Fiore and owns the Splendido through its luxury travel operator Belmond. Bagni Fiore was acquired last year by Gruppo Langosteria, which runs a restaurant on the premises.
Last year, Dior opened its first Dioriviera winter pop-up at the LVMH-owned Cheval Blanc hotel in St. Barths, taking over the bar and pool of the La Cabane restaurant, as well as an Ocean Suite with a private terrace and pool.
“LVMH is a lifestyle in all the brands that it’s representing,” Pietro Beccari, chairman and chief executive officer of Christian Dior Couture, told WWD at the time. “It’s not a structural collaboration, but I’d say that there’s a natural push to collaborate more and to exchange more in terms of doing something together.”
The lifestyle push is not limited to LVMH-owned properties. Dior deckchairs, parasols and cushions will be rolled out this summer on the terrace bordering the beach at the InterContinental Hua Hin Resort in Thailand, and the pool at the Sundara Beach Club at the Four Seasons Bali at Jimbaran Bay in Indonesia, among others.
The deck of the Dior Tea House in Chengdu, China, will also be customized and a beach pop-up with a café is planned for Montauk, N.Y.
In Tokyo, and Sanya, China, visitors will be able to discover the collection in circular wooden structures that appear to be floating on water, Dior said.
To the Beach and Beyond: Luxury Brands Follow the Customer
Dior Heads to the Caribbean With Pop-up at Cheval Blanc St. Barths
LVMH Buys Luxury Travel Operator Belmond for $2.6 Billion

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