Not just a job, but an opportunity for personal fulfilment. Like for Arianna, a 46-year-old mother from Tuscany, who is training to work in leather goods: “It’s my dream, and I didn’t think I’d ever be given the chance to learn a new profession again”, she said from the stage of LVMH’s ShowME. “When I started my internship at Loro Piana, I said to myself: now it’s time to get serious”. On November 19 at the Odeon Theatre in Florence, the Italian date (after the Parisian one) of the event dedicated to the French group’s Métiers d’Excellence was staged.
LVMH’s ShowME was divided into two panels: the first was a debate in which the French holding company’s employees and managers took part. And the second, in the audience, where in a journey through the five senses, some of the professions practised in the group’s maisons were presented visually and actively. In both panels, the same point was stressed out. Craft professions are not simply a requirement of fashion houses and an alternative to unemployment for their staff. But they are a real opportunity for those who want to do a job with high added value.
It’s not an obvious concept: for large sections of the population, craft trades have no appeal. Serge Brunschwig, Fendi’s president and CEO, explained this with an anecdote relating to the preparation of Hand in Hand, the current exhibition in Rome. “The project involves an artisan from every region of Italy, even those who have never worked in leather goods before, making their own version of the Baguette”, he says. “In the Marche region, we involved Alex, a 23-year-old boy who took up the wickerwork his grandfather used to make. It went so well that he has now hired three people younger than him, while the mayor of his municipality has replanted the willows”. But not everywhere is it that simple. “The artisans in Piedmont and Calabria couldn’t find interns locally”, he continues. “We provided them with interns from France”.
An enterprise, a challenge
Chantal Gaemperle, Human Resources Director of LVMH, took advantage of the event to announce an ambitious plan in the area of training and investment in personnel. Toni Belloni, general director of the group, confirmed the centrality of Italy: “Here we have 7 maisons, 30 production sites, and 5,000 suppliers and contractors”, he said. “For them, we represent a reliable partner, with an average collaboration of 10 years and peaks of over 40”. However, LVMH alone cannot do everything that is needed to rekindle attention to the craft trades. “It is a challenge that we can only win in collaboration with employers’ associations and institutions”.
The value of leather
LVMH’s ShowME was held in two stages. The second was dedicated to showing, if only symbolically, some aspects of these artisan trades. Guido Sani of the Masoni tannery (pictured left), therefore, had the opportunity to tell the public about the art of leather. A refined and circular process that provides the raw material for high-end accessories. A few metres further on, in this regard, Rosy Boscaro of Rossimoda showed how a woman’s boot is assembled: an activity that requires intelligence and manual skill, an activity that we dare define as arid.