Sep 15, 2016
LVMH opens fragrance creation centre in world perfumery capital Grasse
Sep 15, 2016
LVMH, the world's top luxury group, has opened on Thursday a fragrance creation centre, shared between Louis Vuitton and Dior, inside an abandoned perfumery in the heart of the old town in Grasse, Provence, the world's fragrance cradle.
The centre is called 'Les Fontaines Parfumées' (the fragrant fountains), from the name of an old Grasse perfumery. It lies within an agricultural estate, home to a country house which became a perfumery workshop in 1848, and later a perfumery store, and started selling to the public in the early 20th century.
This typical 'bastide' (country house) was lavishly renovated from 2013, and will now be the sanctuary of master perfumers Jacques Cavallier Belletrud, the 'nose' of Louis Vuitton, and François Demachy, likewise for Dior, who will both enjoy working in the town where they were born.
The country house "was locked up for over fifty years. We are very happy to be able to re-open it today and to show you the beginning of a renaissance in Grasse," said Louis Vuitton CEO Michael Burke, speaking to a selected audience including some of the leading names of the Grasse perfumery industry.
The centre's inauguration coincided with the grand return of Louis Vuitton on the fragrance scene. In September, the luxury goods giant launched seven fragrances, after a 90-year absence from this lucrative sector.
"We used to produce fragrances in the 1920s and until the 1940s, and it was not a resounding success. I will say today that what we were missing was you, Grasse and its perfumers. This time we will do it properly, thanks to you,” added Michael Burke.
"Choosing to give birth to the future Dior and Vuitton fragrances within this country house is a strong gesture," said Claude Martinez, the CEO of Dior.
The two top managers spoke in the absence of LVMH boss Bernard Arnault, who unexpectedly had to remain in Paris.
"Also, we are getting closer to our dear growers," added Dior's CEO, who in the last ten years set up a series of partnerships with Grasse perfume plant growers, whose expertise was on the verge of vanishing. "We wish them to continue, and to multiply. We must replant Grasse and give new life to its flowers," he said.
"Grasse is enjoying a new era today, a renaissance which Christian Dior is more than ever keen to support," rejoiced Dior perfumer François Demachy, a local who used to come to the Fontaines Parfumées when he was little. "This reunion is a great moment for me, for our fashion label and especially for all of us who believe in this area."
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