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.

Kering Net Profit Up 34 Percent in H1 Despite China Lockdowns

Kering Net Profit Up 34 Percent in H1 Despite China Lockdowns

PARIS — French luxury group Kering said net profit rose 34 percent in the first half versus the same period last year, as strong sales with local customers in the rest of the world more than offset the impact of lockdowns in China in the second quarter. However, its cash cow brand Gucci continued to underperform versus the group’s other brands, with organic sales slowing in the three months to June 30, likely penalized by the label’s relatively high exposure to China. Revenues totaled 2.58 billion euros, up 4 percent on a like-for-like basis, following a 13.4 percent rise in the first quarter. 
That was slightly above a consensus of analyst estimates, which called for a 3.5 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 19 percent year-over-year in the second quarter, reflecting the resilience of its star brands Louis Vuitton and Dior, in addition to smaller brands like Fendi, Celine and Loewe.

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Reporting first-half results after the market close on Wednesday, Kering said group revenues in the three months to June 30 rose 20 percent year-on-year to 4.97 billion euros, representing a rise of 12 percent in comparable terms. 
This compared with a 21.4 percent organic sales increase in the first quarter, and was above the consensus forecast for a 9 percent sales rise.
The group, whose brands also include Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and Balenciaga, posted net income of 1.99 billion euros in the first half, a new record. Recurring operating profit was up 26 percent to 2.82 billion euros, yielding an operating margin of 28.4 percent, up from 27.8 percent in the same period last year.
“The group delivered sharply higher sales in the first half of 2022, sustaining last year’s top-line momentum — solid performances in retail around the world more than offset the impact of COVID-19-related measures in China in the second quarter,” François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive officer of Kering, said in a statement.
“In a period of heightened macro uncertainty, Kering is in great shape to surmount short-term challenges, take advantage of new opportunities, and support the ambitious strategies and tremendous prospects of all our brands,” he added.
Kering’s share price has fallen by more than 25 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 Piral Dadhania, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, believes the stock is ripe for picking.
“We think Kering is an attractive stock, given its valuation profile and the potential for Gucci improvement,” he said in a report dated July 5. “We also appreciate the portfolio business model, and the strength of some of the brands including YSL and Balenciaga with longer-term potential for Bottega Veneta and the expansion of Kering Eyewear following two recent acquisitions.”
Kering said recently it is targeting revenues of 15 billion euros at Gucci. Detailing its action plan at its Capital Markets Day event in Paris last month, the group said Gucci’s medium-term growth hinged on fashion and timeless products, and there was strong potential in the men’s and travel categories.

Gucci plans to increase the proportion of leather goods in its sales mix, and expand its Gen Z clientele with aspirational categories, while simultaneously reinforcing the high-end offer to seduce mature customers.
Kering 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 group said it is targeting revenues of 2 billion euros for its eyewear division, launched in 2015.
The Kering results come on the heels of figures from Compagnie Financière Richemont showing sales at constant exchange rates rose 12 percent in the April-to-June period, with double-digit revenue gains across all product categories and regions, except for Asia Pacific.
Meanwhile, Burberry reported that the Chinese lockdowns dented its growth in the fiscal first quarter. At constant exchange rates, retail revenue was flat in the 13 weeks to July 2. Hermès International is the next big luxury player scheduled to report second-quarter results, on Friday.

Inside LVMH-backed VivaTech: Blockchain, Crypto and VR Fashion Shows are the Future

Inside LVMH-backed VivaTech: Blockchain, Crypto and VR Fashion Shows are the Future

While thousands of attendees packed Paris’ Porte de Versailles convention center for VivaTech, some of the biggest names came as cartoons, and even showed up as holograms.Among them were Facebook parent company Meta’s outgoing chief operations officer Sheryl Sandberg, who appeared as an animated avatar in conversation with L’Oréal chief executive officer Nicolas Hieronimus, while Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky was beamed in Star Trek-style from his bunker in Kiyv.
That’s all to say that the sixth edition of the four-day, LVMH-backed conference offered a very eclectic mix of brands and executives on hand to talk tech. Audi showed off its latest connected car, while Amazon and Huawei were there touting new services. L’Oréal brought its beauty brands Lancôme and Skinceuticals to make the case for virtual consultations and AR color matching for makeup, with lines of eager believers wrapping around the room, all while mixing with crypto bros and NFT evangelists.

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Holographic mirrors and virtual try-on were on display, while the “Low Carbon Human Park,” where people were encouraged to chat, play chess and interact IRL, was sponsored by TikTok.
Louis Vuitton and Dior’s parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton took the term fashion house seriously, constructing a grand apartment with various rooms dedicated to each brand and showcasing its technology.
Speaking on stage at the Innovation Awards, LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault reminded the audience that his company started as a small busines, and that ethos still runs throughout the group. He said that luxury and technology share the same core values of creativity, quality and leadership.
“Creativity is the key of the success of LVMH, and it is at the center of what you do with start-ups,” he told the rapt audience. On the point of quality, he commented that there is still “enormous progress to do” in tech areas that relate to retail, citing NFTs, which he noted are “complicated to buy,” and VR goggles, which he said are “not pleasant.” Together LVMH and start-ups can work toward solutions.
“The last value is entrepreneurship. All the start-ups here are made from entrepreneurs, and we are a family of entrepreneurs,” said Arnault. “We share the same energy, the same agility, and the same will to grow.”
Group managing director Tony Belloni said LVMH was previously reluctant to embrace e-commerce because it was associated with “value and convenience, which are not drivers of a luxurious experience.”
“We have over 5,000 stores and we love them deeply because they fully immerse the customer in the brand universe,” he sad. “The challenge is innovating the experience online in a way that we can create the same differentiation that we have created in the physical world.”
At Louis Vuitton, that means bringing special events such as fashion shows, private parties and other “non-reproduceable” events to VIP customers through VR. Last month’s spectacular runway at the Salk Institute in San Diego was shown as an example of an event that could be streamed in VR. Not making the invite list or not being able to attend due to personal scheduling conflicts “generates frustration” for some customers, said Louis Vuitton demand and program director Stephan Emanuely. The new tech would allow customers to virtually attend from anywhere in the world.

Vuitton is also working on interactive technology for VIPs, where they can virtually interact with a personal sales agent “or it can be the designer” for consultations, said Emanuely. 3D renderings of shoes were also on display, so a potential buyer can see down to the stitching on their screen.
LVMH also showcased the interactive shopping system currently available at Dior’s Paris flagship. It operates through Apple technology and behind-the-scenes sourcing so that any product will almost instantaneously appear in front of a customer. No flipping through racks or spending a moment alone here. That system is in the process of being rolled out globally.
Bulgari displayed its Octo Finissimo, the thinnest watch in the world, and its joint NFT which cannot be separated from the timepiece. “We knew that NFTs were going up and down and we wanted to stay completely away from the hype of devaluation,” said high jewelry director Massimo de Valentini.
There was buzz around Guerlain’s crypto bees, NFTs which are tied to a rewilding project. It runs on the Tezos blockchain, which the brand says uses less energy.
LVMH is using data to hone its production and offerings across brands, group information technology director Franck Le Moal told WWD. They run what he called a data factory, with 60 dedicated data scientists and engineers to crunch numbers.
“It’s the whole value chain we are trying to target,” he said about using information to reach the group’s sustainability goals. “The more you have data and accurate forecasts, the better your footprint will be. You will not over-plan your logistics and transportation, you will reduce what you sell and you will adjust production and distribution capability so we will not overproduce. In the end it’s a strong impact on the global supply chain.
“The major impact that we are looking for in terms of supply is to downsize and making sure that we are not having to do reverse logistics because we know that reverse logistics are having a significant value impact on our carbon footprint,” he said.
LVMH brands do not currently accept crypto, but are looking at it. “We are careful,” Le Moal added.

The crypto panel with Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the founder of crypto-currency exchange Binance, and Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin in conversation with advertising conglomerate Publicis chair Maurice Levy, was the most anticipated event of the week. The two were treated like rock stars with whoops and cheers when they appeared on stage, or, in Buterin’s case, on screen. In one memorable moment, Levy got out of his seat to bow down to Zhao.
Both made their case for crypto despite the volatile markets that have shaken confidence in the currencies over the last few weeks. Buterin also tried to quell any environmental concerns, telling the audience Ethereum is moving from the energy-intensive “proof of work” blockchain used by Bitcoin, to the lower carbon impact “proof of stake” format. The new chain will also make the currency more scalable and accessible to the average consumer for small purchases as it will slash transaction fees.
Italian brand Pinko is one company that has jumped on the Ethereum train. Pinko executives were on hand to reveal their upcoming NFT project, which is a maze of an AR-enabled in-store installation, QR-code, online and metaverse hybrid that results in a digitally-decorated handbag.
The first limited edition drop is scheduled for October and will give buyers access to exclusive events and sales, both real and virtual. The cost is 1 Ethereum, which is roughly $1,100 at current exchange. If a customer wants to pay in local currency they’ll be turned down – it’s Ethereum only.
In more tangible currency, Mangopay, which works with retailers including La Redoute and Veepee, and customer-to-customer platforms such as Vinted, said these types of peer-to-peer marketplaces are seeing the biggest growth. “The main trend in the retail economy is the marketplace trend. For one euro spent in the e-commerce space, [the consumer] spends two in the marketplace space,” a spokesperson said.

EXCLUSIVE: Sidney Toledano Touts Transmission as New Chair of IFM

EXCLUSIVE: Sidney Toledano Touts Transmission as New Chair of IFM

“Having an education is a big, big asset in life,” says Sidney Toledano, who this week was elected chairman of the Paris fashion school Institut Français de la Mode, or IFM.Toledano, who takes on the IFM title in addition to his full-time job as chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Fashion Group and a member of the LVMH executive committee, has been on the IFM board for 24 years and vice chairman the last five, demonstrating his commitment to the transmission of knowledge that is key in fashion and luxury.
Toledano was elected at a closed-doors assembly on June 14, and he succeeds André Beirnaert, the textile executive who took over the presidency following IFM founder Pierre Bergé’s death in 2017.

Sidney Toledano
Courtesy of Christian Dior

Anne Dellière, Compagnie Financière Richemont’s group marketing and strategic plan director, succeeds Toledano as vice chairman.

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Toledano was previously president of the École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, which in 2019 merged with France’s IFM management school in a bid to become a world-class fashion school uniting business, design and savoir-faire.
That year, Condé Nast France executive Xavier Romatet was named general manager and dean of the IFM.
In a statement following Toledano’s election, Romatet lauded his “incomparable experience, his in-depth knowledge of global fashion and his multiple connections.
“His presence at our side will enable us to strengthen the influence of Institut Français de la Mode and its international appeal,” Romatet added.
In an exclusive interview with WWD, Toledano said his ambition is to elevate the school’s reputation as “one of the best for fashion management and fashion design.
“The main objective is to attract an international audience, to assure excellence in the level of teaching and research, and to be as inclusive as possible,” he added.
And as the conversation around fashion enlarges to NFTs, the metaverse and Web3 applications, his goal is to build bridges with educational and research institutions dedicated to technology and digital innovation, in addition to centers dedicated to textile research.

A fashion student at the IFM school in Paris.
Jean Picon

Toledano lauded the steady hand of Beirnaert’s long tenure, and gave a shout-out to Ralph Toledano, president of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, for helping to mobilize the industry behind the creation of a larger, stronger IFM.
An engineering graduate of École Centrale Paris, Sidney Toledano began his career at market research firm AC Nielsen, eventually finding his way into fashion when he took the helm of footwear concern Kickers and leather goods brand Lancel. But he is best known for his illustrious 20-year career helming Christian Dior, catapulting it to the pinnacle of luxury.
He now oversees an array of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton brands including Celine, Loewe, Givenchy, Kenzo, Pucci, Marc Jacobs, Patou and Moynat.
He described education as “the best passport, the best bridge to succeed in a career, or in entrepreneurship” and noted that today’s fashion students enter an increasingly complex industry grappling with digitalization, sustainability and a turbulent socio-political backdrop.

He touted that about a fifth of students at IFM have a scholarship, thanks largely to generous contributions from corporate donors. “We want it to be accessible to people, particularly on the creative side,” he said. “I’d love to see our design students competing for the LVMH Prize or the ANDAM prize, opening their own companies or joining big studios.”
Despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the IFM has charted rapid growth, tripling the number of students over the last four years, and more than tripling the number of academic programs to 17.
Come September, when classes resume, the IFM is expecting 400 students in fashion design, 400 students in management and 300 students in savoir-faire.

BA students at IFM in Paris are prepping collections for a runway show on June 20.
Courtesy of IFM

A suave, warm and wise figure on the Paris fashion scene, Toledano has had ties to the IFM when there were fewer than 100 people at the school. “I’ve always been excited by this school and its spirit,” he enthused.
Over the years, Toledano has addressed students innumerable times about the realities of creative management and business imperatives, always appreciating their no-holds-barred questions, and relishing visits to classrooms where prototypes for dresses, bags and shoes are created.
“Presence is important: doing a course, helping, encouraging,” he said. “I’m really passionate about studios and ateliers, and you see these students are really well prepared to enter large fashion companies, or start their own brands.”
Toledano’s election comes as the IFM gears up for its first physical fashion show on the eve of Paris Fashion Week for menswear. The June 20 display at IFM’s new campus in Paris will showcase the final collections by 32 bachelor of arts in fashion design students.
Each is to parade six looks that integrate a sustainable development, technological or ethical element, according to the IFM, which introduced the three-year bachelor design program in 2019.
The program has attracted about 250 students, 44 percent of them from outside of France, over the past three years, according to the IFM, noting that “a significant need-based scholarship fund sponsored by the companies of the IFM Foundation allows the school to welcome all creative talents into the program, regardless of their financial situation.”

The foundation is funded by 35 companies including Adidas, Balenciaga, Burberry, Celine, Chanel, Chloé, Dior, Farfetch, Hermès, Kering, L’Oréal, Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent, and offers scholarships to about 130 students per academic term. Fashion executives also teach, offer masterclasses, and participate in juries.
The IFM’s new 86,000-square-foot headquarters, designed by architect Patrick Mauger and built at a cost of 15 million euros, opened in January and now houses courses catering to all levels of fashion education, from vocational training to Ph.D.

A look from IFM’s class of 2022.
Courtesy of IFM

Founded in 1986 by Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint’s Laurent’s business partner, the IFM has produced designers such as Guillaume Henry and Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, though it is mainly known for churning out world-class managers who have filled the ranks of leading luxury groups.
It is supported by the French Ministry of Industry and is known for its academic and market research. Nina Ricci’s Guillaume Henri and Ami designer Alexandre Mattiussi are among graduates of the IFM’s design program.
Famous alumni of the the École de la Chambre Syndicale, founded in 1927, include Valentino Garavani, Yves Saint Laurent, André Courrèges, Issey Miyake and Tomas Maier, though in recent decades it has been overtaken by overseas competitors such as London’s Central Saint Martins and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium.
Toledano wears a few other hats in the industry: He’s also a committee member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture and on the executive committee of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode.

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Inside Goomheo’s Rule-breaking Take on Genderless Fashion

Inside Goomheo’s Rule-breaking Take on Genderless Fashion

LONDON — South Korean fashion designer Goom Heo, who was shortlisted as one of the 19 semifinalists for this year’s LVMH Prize for Young Designers, doesn’t care how the industry categorizes her works.Her edgy, subversive, and genderless designs, made mostly by draping directly on the body, were a hit among the London fashion crowd after she won her second L’Oréal Professional Award for her MA graduation collection.
She was the first student in Central Saint Martins’ history to be awarded the top prize twice. She first bagged the honor in 2017 with her BA graduation collection.
Lulu Kennedy made her an offer to join the young designer support program Fashion East shortly after her graduation.

She showed with Fashion East for four seasons, from fall 2020 to spring 2022, mostly digitally due to COVID-19. Things became more challenging as she was stuck in South Korea until last October due to the pandemic after she traveled back there for denim production.

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A look from Goomheo’s fall 2022 collection.
A look from Goomheo RTW fall 2022 collection

“I was only planning to go back for three weeks but I couldn’t come back because my flight was canceled so many times. Also, COVID-19 was getting very serious there, so if I go back to London, I had to quarantine. So I decided to stay,” Heo explained during a Zoom call.
Reconnecting with her culture during that time allowed her to see how much of her gender-fluid design was unknowingly influenced by K-pop, as well as cartoons and gaming. Even on the surface Korean society draws a very clear line between men and women, the designer said.
Now that she is back in London with a fall collection that further exemplifies her gender fluid and out-of-the-box take on men’s fashion, plus an LVMH Prize nomination, Heo believes that she is ready to get back to the game in full force, regardless of whether she makes it to the final round of the LVMH Prize.
She also revealed that she plans to showcase independently during the men’s fashion cycle from June in London to establish a stronger relationship with buyers.

A look from Goomheo’s fall 2022 collection.

“For me, it doesn’t matter if I get into the final or take the big prize. Getting the LVMH Prize nomination is already a huge recognition. It gives me 200 percent motivation to do my next collection,” she said.
The pieces Heo took to the LVMH Prize showroom were from her fall 2022 collection, “Infinite Glacier,” which featured sculptural puffer pieces, shorts with XL fur pockets, a fitted jacket with embroidered lapels down all the way to ankles, and statement boots with 3D printed oval buckles, which Heo hopes can become a signature for the brand, seen both on male and female models.
“It really doesn’t matter what gender I am designing for. It’s the customers who are deciding what kind of clothes they are wearing, instead of me,” Heo said, adding that while some buyers did get confused at the beginning, the kind of stores that appreciate her aesthetics, such as London’s Machine-A and H.Lorenzo in Los Angeles, had no problem selling her designs in the end.

A look from Goomheo’s fall 2022 collection.

Despite the attention, Heo’s journey in fashion hasn’t been easy. Similar to many Asian students, Heo’s parents were furious at the beginning when she told them that she was going to study fashion.

“I was supposed to be an interpreter between Chinese, English and Korean. I went to the United States for that. During the half-term in my senior year, I watched this documentary about the world’s best three fashion schools, and Central Saint Martins was one of them. After that, I just decided that I wanted to do fashion. I quit my high school for that and my parents were super mad, but later I got into the foundation course. So that’s how I started,” Heo recalled.
The fact that Heo was never professionally trained as an art student like the majority of the rest gave her the freedom to design in her own way, which mostly involves draping the garment directly on mannequins, instead of drawing patterns first.
“I can’t draw. I am still not confident about that. I always tell my interns: ‘you just have to see how I drape,’” she said.
“But I have this amazing pattern cutter, who has been working with me since my B.A. collection for seven years now. He understands me and he is the one who made me realize that I don’t have to work the traditional way. I can break all the rules and not care about whether it’s for men or women,” she added.

The LVMH Prize Announces Its 2022 Semifinalists

The LVMH Prize Announces Its 2022 Semifinalists

Photo: Courtesy LVMH
Each year, the LVMH Prize scours the globe for the next generation of influential fashion designers with the hopes of bolstering their business with a little LVMH shine. This year “over 1,900 candidates from all over the world applied,” reports Delphine Arnault, the executive vice president of Louis Vuitton and director of the Prize. “This success demonstrates the importance of the LVMH Prize internationally: many young designers have realized just how decisive this Prize is for their careers, as it helps to showcase and nurture the talents of tomorrow.”
The 2022 shortlist spans continents and ages, with the 20 semifinalists coming from Ghent, Lagos, Dublin, Tokyo, and beyond. The global nature of fashion resonates with Arnault, who looks to the successes of the 2021 winners—Nensi Dojaka took home the grand prize, KidSuper, Lukhanyo Mdingi, and Rui the Karl Lagerfeld special prize—as a sign for fashion’s next chapter. “The class of 2021 has shown great ability in approaching the new world: they all have e-commerce sites, are present on social media and embrace a way of creating and producing that takes into account the challenges of our industry,” she says. “The class of 2021 was also a beautiful symbol of diversity: Nensi was born and raised in Albania, Lukhanyo is South African, Rui comes from Hunan in China… Young designers don’t necessarily express themselves in one of the world’s fashion capitals such as Paris, London, New York or Milan.”
An in-person showroom will take place in Paris on March 4 and March 5, while the virtual showroom and voting online will continue. “I’m very excited that the experts”—including actress and LV ambassador Léa Seydoux and new expert Cindy Sherman—“who can attend will meet the semi-finalists in person and see their work,” says Arnault, “[and] we all hope that the 2022 Final will be held physically. It is very important for the semi-finalists to meet the Experts and they all confirm how inspiring these encounters are for their work.”
Until then, meet the 2022 LVMH Prize semifinalists below and stay tuned for the final, coming later this spring.
Airei, menswear brand designed by Drew Curry in Los Angeles, California, USA
Amesh, genderless brand designed by Amesh Wijesekera in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Ashlyn, womenswear brand designed by Ashlynn Park in New York, New York, USA
Bluemarble, menswear brand designed by Anthony Alvarez Graff in Paris, France
Chenpeng, genderless brand designed by Peng Chen in Shanghai, China
ERL, menswear, womenswear, and genderless brand desigend by Eli Russell Linnetz in Venice Beach, California, USA
Goomheo, menswear and genderless brand designed by Goom Heo in London, UK
KNWLS, womenswear brand designed by Charlotte Knowles and Alexandre Arsenault in London, UK
Maximilian, womenswear brand designed by Maximilian Davis in London, UK
Meryll Rogge, womenswear brand designed by Meryll Rogge in Ghent, Belgium
Niccolò Pasqualetti, genderless brand designed by Niccolò Pasqualetti in Tuscany, Italy
Palomo Spain, genderless brand designed by Alejandro Gomez Palomo in Córdoba, Spain
Paula Canovas del Vas, womenswear brand designed by Paula Canovas del Vas in London, UK
Róisín Pierce, womenswear brand designed by Róisín Pierce in Dublin, Ireland
Ryunosukeokazaki, genderless brand designed by Ryunosuke Okazaki in Tokyo, Japan
S.S. Daley, menswear brand designed by Steven Stokey-Daley in London, UK
Tokyo James, menswear brand designed by Iniye Tokyo James in Lagos, Nigeria
Weinsanto, womenswear brand designed by Victor Brunstein Weinsanto in Paris, France
Winnie NY, menswear brand designed by Idris Balogun in New York, New York, USA
Yueqi Qi, genderless brand designed by Yueqi Qi in Shanghai, China
Originally published in

Virgil Abloh’s Legacy Will Be Seen in Future Generations, According to Museum Curators

Virgil Abloh’s Legacy Will Be Seen in Future Generations, According to Museum Curators

While many designers see themselves as a multihyphenated talent, Virgil Abloh lived up to that mantle through his ambidextrous creativity and boundary-breaking pursuits.The Off-White founder and Louis Vuitton’s artistic director for men’s wear, who died earlier this week at the age of 41, was a multidisciplinarian through and through. Art, architecture, music, industrial and automotive design, street life and other elements were infused in his seemingly nonstop pursuits, which extended beyond the realm of fashion. However straightforward some of his designs might have appeared to be, Abloh often delivered the subversive and, in doing so, upended an hierarchy that had been decades in the making. Along with Nike, Levi’s and Moncler, other powerhouse brands like Ikea and Mercedes-Benz enlisted Abloh to help envision a smattering of their next-level designs.

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The rise of a Rockford, Ill.-born artist, architect and fashion designer inspired legions of other creatives and consumers to carve new roads to their definitions of success. By his own account, he first learned to fuse the fields of art, craft and design as a postgraduate student at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he was introduced to a curriculum established by Miss Van dear Rohe that had sprung from the Bauhaus movement.
High-minded, but ironic and seemingly always in-on-the-joke, Abloh stoked the dualism of his work on his personal site. Visitors will find a breakout for “The Struggle of Polar Opposites,” including such pairings as “Suit vs. Tracksuit,” “Day Job vs. Night Job” and “Sport vs. Spectator.” Skilled at reiterating different designs and themes for new meanings, Abloh first broached the “Polar Opposites” concert through an Off-White x Nike Air Presto drop in 2019. More recently, he had taken a group of architectural and design students under his wing through a London-based studio that he set up.
Michael Darling, a former curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, first reached out to Abloh in 2016 about the prospect of working together. Intrigued by Off-White, his furniture design, Chicago upbringing and engineering and architectural background, Darling decided upon meeting him that they should do something significant. After debuting at MCA Chicago in 2019, “Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech” has been shown at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art and the ICA Boston, and is now on view at The Firehouse in Qatar until April. Next summer, it will bow at the Brooklyn Museum.
By the time that the show opened in Chicago in 2019, Abloh had morphed into a household name and the turnout reflected that. Following Abloh’s death, Darling said he has been thinking a lot about the designer’s legacy. “So much of what he’s done has happened quite quickly and before our eyes. The impact of it is still unknown. So many young people who he has impacted are just getting started; we haven’t seen the full impact of his influence yet.”
In addition to encouraging the younger generations to not feel bound by genres or certain ways of doing things, Abloh has also encouraged young designers of color to go out and chase their dreams, Darling said. Whether lending a hand or offering contacts, the designer helped them. Recognizing the influence of Abloh’s work with Kanye West’s Donda group, as well as Matthew Williams (now at Givenchy), Heron Preston and Samuel Ross (now of A-Cold-Wall), Darling said, “there was the incredible group of people, who were all working together and tormenting this new wave of creativity in the early 2010s that is still totally under recognized.”

Too young and too generous to be thinking about his legacy, Abloh wasn’t an egomaniac but was someone “who was always thinking about the broader culture and his generation of creatives, and wanting that whole group to succeed and leave their mark,” he added. Although he always made time for his family and a bevy of projects, Abloh was always all-in, when’re he was working. “He always questioned any path forward to make sure it was the best or most interesting or exciting one. He usually had multiple projects in his head at one time. As you were walking down regarding street with him, he would be texting, Instagramming and seeing things that he was making notes of. He was just constantlyprocessing that way, which was pretty amazing to witness,” Darling said, who is now Museum Exchange’s chief growth officer.
Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu curator in charge at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, said Monday, “Virgil both appreciated and explored the power of fashion as language, employing linguistic tropes such as irony and metaphor as cultural commentary. Placing fashion at the very center of contemporaneity, he was a semiotician of our times, encoding clothes with meaning and purpose. His singularity and magnanimity will be greatly missed.”

Virgil Abloh
Bogdan Plakov/Courtesy of Museum of Contempary Art Chicago

The Brooklyn Museum’s senior curator of fashion and material culture Matthew Yokobosky said news of Abloh’s passing prompted such images as “the prismatic carpet that he created for his first Louis Vuitton men’s wear collection that was walked by an international cast of models, thereby staging the vocabulary of gay pride and inclusivity into one of the most anticipated, photographic events of recent years, and transmitting a seriously new perspective at the house.”
He was also reminded of an Off-White leather bag emblazoned with the word “sculpture,” which prompted viewers to consider what is art, what is fashion and is a handbag sculpture. Yokobosky also recalled the industrial hazard striping used as a brand/collection signifier for Off-White that Abloh chose to blur and explore the black-and-white lines that society has created through fashion — a challenge to the status quo. Also fond of Off-White’s precursor brand name Pyrex Vision, the curator asked, “Can anything be more clear and precise? While Virgil was asking us to question and reason through his designs or ‘makes,’ he was being very clear and purpose-driven about the visual ‘awareness’ journey that he wanted to take us on.”

Another admirer of Pyrex Vision was the Museum of Modern Art’s senior curator of architecture and design and director of research and development, Paola Antonelli. Instead of tagging items like a graffiti artist as he had in the past, Abloh “blossomed” at Louis Vuitton, where he was “innovating the essence of the objects and using different typologies for the garments and rethinking them from scratch with new forms and configurations,” she said. Using a leather harness or belt across the chest or shoulder that was reminiscent of Geoffrey Beene, for example, was a very elegant way to give a completely new turn to a suit without losing its essence, she said. “It’s a moment, where fashion is experimenting so much, especially men’s fashion, which is not even gendered any more. He really gave it a push in that direction.”
Abloh’s long-range legacy “will be the abundance of young people, who have been introduced to a world that they didn’t think was theirs, and they will just feel comfortable in it,” Antonelli said. “We will remember the objects, the branding and the logos. But he always opened my heart, because he was always like the Pied Piper with all these kids following him all the time…his most important legacy will be the inspiration that he has given so many kids all over the world and of all different backgrounds and especially kids of color.”
His ability to always design for his 17-year-old self was a point of distinction and a gift that gave him “a different way to be attuned to reality,” she said.
Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, recalled Monday visiting the exhibition in 2019 with a group of other museum directors. Seeing clothes included in the show “just on a rack” rather than on a mannequin or on a pedestal with a light shining on it, raised the question of “‘This is how you’re showing them in an art gallery?’ But he was showing them in conjunction with other kinds of art projects. He was looking at it all like an art project,” Steele said. “In that way, he was very much like Andy Warhol or Jeff Koons — someone who is doing things that [make] some people go, ‘That’s not art’ or, ‘Oh well, it seems like it’s art.’ I’m an artist. I’m doing it. In that way, it’s very interesting conceptually.”

A vignette at Virgil Abloh’s “Figures of Speech” at the Museum of Contempary Art Chicago in 2019.
Courtesy of Museum of Contempary Art Chicago

As was the case with a Haruki Murakami exhibition, the exhibition had a shocking element — the show had racks of clothes, and the gift shop did too for purchase, Steele said.
She expects his lasting impact to be twofold: “One, as a Black person who became super important in the international luxury fashion industry at a very high level as influential and given quite a free range to go across different parts of the LVMH empire. That fits into the second aspect of why I think he is important — his disruptive ability to break down what seemed like barriers between different areas of culture and visual culture.”
As someone, who was interested in fashion from a young age, Abloh wasn’t interested in just fashion, but also art, music, skateboarding, luxury and streetwear, said Steele, noting that he was breaking down the distinctions between some of these things. “I’ve spent years thinking about, ‘How can you look at fashion in connection with art?’ He was there as a maker [considering] ‘Are there distinctions? What would they be? What kind of a maker am I?’”
In the same way, Abloh argued how streetwear could be just like designer fashion or luxury fashion, Steele said. “The lines between those categories are getting blurrier and blurrier. That disruptive quality is something that we only see quite rarely in an art form. We saw it when Bob Dylan started playing an electric guitar, when all of the fogeys started to get freaked out,” Steele said.
Shai Baitel, inaugural artist director of the Modern Art Museum Shanghai, expects Abloh’s legacy to be not only the first designer who dared “blending and mixing elements from the street that relate not only to imagery, but mainly for energy, for the vibe and for the entire rich culture that otherwise never would have been part of such a luxurious brand.”
Abloh grasped that there is no design without art, Baitel said. “Any design — fashion, product, cars, architecture — there would never have been any of those [categories] if it wasn’t for art. Art came first. What Virgil did so brilliantly was to allow these things to mix so seamlessly and be integrated into a sophisticated brand like LVMH that is hundreds of years old. It had been consumed by the elitist of the elite. Now everybody can say, ‘I have an LV as well,’ whereas it’s not just the same as canvas. It’s an incredible achievement. He never compromised the original DNA. And DNA, like any DNA is an evolution.”

In addition, Abloh will be remembered for taking Louis Vuitton to new audiences. Baitel spoke of the importance “to understand the consumption of product or a brand that stands for certain ideology or values, as well as the way that we consume content that is not necessarily tangible. Everything that is too excluding and too snobbish was no longer welcome. Every brand needs to think not just about the present, but mainly about the future. You could see how such a brilliant creative director such as Virgil and others immediately had their interpretations of how this and future generations look into products and brands and luxury. Even if it is a little less exclusive, it speak loudly to allowing everybody to be part of it.”

Paris Hails a Bombastic New Shopping Address with the Reopening of La Samaritaine

Paris Hails a Bombastic New Shopping Address with the Reopening of La Samaritaine

Inside La Samaritaine – Paris. Courtesy Karla Otto
Before French President Emmanuel Macron met with Justin Bieber and his wife Hailey, at the Elysées Palace in Paris, he was alongside LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault to cut the proverbial ribbon on one of the most beloved department stores in all of France. The reopening of la Samaritaine—affectionately referred to as “la Samar” by Parisians—has finally occurred, 16 years after closing for renovations.
La Samaritaine Paris. Photo by Matthieu Salvaing. Courtesy Karla Otto
The department store is featured in a 1907 steel frame and glass Art Nouveau building by Belgian architect Frantz Jourdain that overlooks the Seine on the right bank in the 1st arrondissement. It is listed as a historical monument by the French Ministry of Culture since 1990. La Samaritaine houses the French art de vivre, which translates to shopping, eating, and culture. No less than X fashion houses are curated to offer a very French mix and match style–think Alaïa, Loewe, Alexander McQueen, Chloé, Chanel, but also regional names like Shourouk and Vanina are alongside a blend of Scandi-cool brands like Ganni, Rotate, and Rains. Meanwhile, avant-garde Parisian sneaker brand Shinzo Paris offers a unique concept featuring 100 m2 of exclusive, ethical, and responsible sneakers, each one fulfilling one of their five criteria: local, recycled, vegan, organic, or reconditioned. Look closely and shoppers will see there are many limited editions and previews available to La Samaritaine along with what is the biggest beauty space in Europe exclusively featuring Dolce & Gabbana Beauty, Helena Rubinstein, Clé de Peau Beauté, SK-II, Fragonard, Orveda, and Sulwhasoo. There are also five beauty spaces including a spa and a house of perfume.
La Samaritaine beauty space. Photo by Matthieu Salvaing. Courtesy Karla Otto
There are 12 spaces to eat everything from caviar to burgers, while books by Assouline and a pop-up Perrotin Gallery will seduce tourists and Parisians alike. Take the elevators to the top to witness the spectacular Art Nouveau peacock fresco restored to its former glory. At 3.5 meters high and 115 meters long, it is the work of the architect Jourdain’s son Francis. Alternatively, shoppers can also climb the 270 original oak steps . The railing has been restored with 16000 gold leaves. The artist Francis was also commissioned by his father to decorate the store facade with enameled Volvic lava that serve to soften the structure. Adding a touch of contemporary architecture are the glass waves forming the facade of the Rivoli street side designed by Japanese architects of the Sanaa agency.
For a lucky few, after a full day of shopping and sightseeing, La Samaritaine is adjoined by a Cheval Blanc Paris hotel, complete with a Dior Spa.
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Louis Vuitton’s SoHo Store Dedicates Pop-up to Summer Collection

Louis Vuitton’s SoHo Store Dedicates Pop-up to Summer Collection

To get into the summer spirit, Louis Vuitton will open a women’s summer collection pop-up in SoHo at 22 Greene Street.
The pop-up shop will be dedicated exclusively to the women’s summer collection, featuring ready-to-wear, accessories, handbags and gifting items such as a skimboard, notebook, straw set, and coasters. Retail prices will range from $370 to $5,350.
The SoHo location is not a regular store, but is a space where Vuitton rotates special pop-ups, such as Artycapucines and Men’s Temporary Residency, with dedicated visual buildouts and merchandise.
This will be Vuitton’s only summer pop-up in New York City. It opens Friday and runs through the end of May. The entire space will be dedicated to the collection with special visual design elements that evoke the collection, including blue, curved tile walls and mannequins relaxing, as well as reclining on a chaise lounge.

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