Next week, LVMH will bring back Les Journées Particulières, a behind-the-scenes look at its many luxury maisons that’s been on hiatus since 2018. Below, I take a dive into the company’s plans, with focuses on beauty and newness. Scroll down to use Glossy+ Comments, giving the Glossy+ community the opportunity to join discussions around industry topics.
LVMH is ready to pull back the curtain.
On October 14-16, LVMH will bring back its global Les Journées Particulières event. This year, 57 LVMH houses, including first-timers Fresh and Tiffany’s, are participating in 93 locations and in 15 countries around the world. Guests will have a rare, behind-the-scenes peek at LVMH’s various maisons via in-person happenings at stores, headquarters, estates, and manufacturing facilities – for free.
The last iteration of Les Journées Particulières was last held well before the pandemic in 2018. Prior events took place in 2011, 2013 and 2016. But since the onslaught of Covid-19 in late 2019, the world collectively changed and has been shaped by a shift in priorities. Beyond the immediate and long-lasting focus on health, safety and wellbeing, there is also a craving for in-person interactions due to long periods of isolation and quarantine. But, of course, not all experiences are created equal. This is something that LVMH as an organization recognizes.
“In the last six months or so, we’ve started celebrating milestones of truly getting back to quote-unquote normal. For us, that’s a big deal,” said Anish Melwani, chairman and CEO of LVMH North America. “During the pandemic, we accelerated a lot of our digital activities, which was great. It kept our business going, it kept our people employed, and it kept our customers connected. But at the end of the day, luxury has elements to it that are multifactorial and that you can never truly get 100% through digital channels.”
While many executives across beauty and fashion have been threading that storyline for the livelihood of their businesses, there is a clear differentiator for LVMH, according to Melwani.
“Getting people back in our stores and being able to run our stores in the way we used to is great. Getting people back to events, whether it’s multi-product launches or fashion shows, is also great. But fundamentally, we’re a product company and we’re a high-quality product company,” said Melwani.
While LVMH is opening its doors, it also wants Les Journées Particulières to remain intimate so that attendees can meet founders, touch products and interact with craftsmen. In 2018, LVMH saw 180,000 attendees globally; the company expects to surpass that number this year, as its plans are more ambitious than in years past. In order to get access to the event, consumers must sign up in advance via an online ticketing system. For the past several weeks, the company has been promoting the event and signups across its channels. In the U.S., Fresh, Benefit and Sephora’s activations are fully booked.
The timing of the event and the excitement it creates sets LVMH up for a strong holiday season since many of the houses’ products are ultra gift items. In July, the company reported $36.4 billion in first-half revenue, up 28% year-over-year. Its perfume and cosmetics division saw an increase of 20% year-over-year, and fragrances and skin care were called out for their “rapid growth.” As the world is not quite yet in economic freefall, consumers are being more mindful of their purchases, but an event like this draws on aspiration and allure.
Take Fresh, which is a new addition to Les Journées Particulières. When it opens its Union Square doors in New York, guests will be welcomed by its founders, Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg, and two ingredient-focused activations: a tasting and sensory experience called “A Journey in a Jar” and a skin-care mask flight. Both activations will reference making products in a kitchen and in a scientific beauty lab.
“The beauty customer is really an expert, because they have so much information everywhere — online, offline. They are trying so many experiences all the time, so they really know what they’re talking about. [We] have to create a kind of excellence, an authenticity that only you can make happen and showcase the savoir-faire of our brand,” said Anne Collinet, CEO of Fresh. A veteran of LVMH, having previously worked at Louis Vuitton on leather goods, accessories and fragrances, Collinet joined Fresh in 2021.
Collinet hopes to not only lure loyal Fresh consumers with the activation but also introduce the line to newer customers — but not at the expense of product or brand DNA. “Fresh is not a marketing brand; this isn’t a marketing exercise. I want to become the most desirable lifestyle beauty brand, and I want to continue to elevate the brand. Because we are luxury,” she said.
Sephora’s U.S. experience on 5th Avenue also trades on the company’s prestige positioning. It will entail guided brand tours by brand spokespeople from the likes of Dior and Supergoop, access to pro artists and services like Hydrafacial, and a gift bag. Jessica Stacey, Sephora svp of experiential marketing and external communications, said Sephora U.S. will hold eight sessions, with 12 people per session, for a total of 96 guests. This is Sephora’s second appearance at Les Journées Particulières. Beyond the U.S. experience, there will be Sephora activations in France, Spain, Italy and China.
“We are again revisiting our very intimate guided experiences that immerse our guests in the essence of what Sephora is,” said Stacey. In Stacey’s mind, Les Journées Particulières shows a different but equally important side of Sephora than, say, Sephoria, which was virtual-only this year.
“This is much more about a tactile experience that you can’t have with anything online. We are certainly returning to the live space, but equally, we’re keeping our pulse on our digital event programming, which has been very successful over the past four years,” she said, Sephoria 2023 will be a hybrid event. “That virtual component was born out of the fact that we know our customers are looking for more flexibility in how they attend events,” she said.
While products will be highlighted throughout LVMH’s hero event, Benefit Cosmetics is taking a different approach. It is focusing instead on the history of the brand, inviting guests to its San Francisco offices. Benefit, too, participated in Les Journées Particulières in 2018. It realized then that consumers have a great love for the brand’s products but were less familiar with the brand’s history.
“We’ve got old vintage Benetint bottles and the original artwork that my mom [Jean Ford] and aunt [Jane Ford] drew; [the experience] dives into the different aspects of what the brand went through, in being born in the ’70s and led by two females. And it [explores] what was going on in women’s lives during that time. It shows how all of those things had a ricochet effect for the brand,” said Annie Ford Danielson, chief beauty ambassador of Benefit Cosmetics, noting the brand’s ongoing support of women’s issues.
Just as Les Journées Particulières isn’t a marketing exercise, per LVMH, it’s also not meant to be thought of as an independent sales event.
The thing that separates luxury is not just the price, but it’s also the quality. This is the thing that Antoine Arnault [head of communications and image at LVMH and CEO of Berluti] and this team developed more than 10 years ago [with Les Journées Particulières]. It was a way to show people who are interested in how that quality gets made. It strips away from luxury all the marketing and all the glitz of our business, and says, ‘Come look at what it takes to actually make this and meet the humans who make it happen.'”
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