Although LVMH chief Bernard Arnault has been nothing but conciliatory in public statements about his intentions for Hermes
, the Birkin
maker has taken measures to protect itself from further stake-building.
Executives descended from Thierry Hermès, who began making horse harnesses and saddles 174 years ago, say that outsiders threaten Hermèss essential character.
Hermès has grown out of a family culture with a set of values that we all believe in, Pierre-Alexis Dumas, Hermèss group artistic director and a sixth-generation descendent of the company namesake, told W Magazine
. I am convinced it would disappear if the family dimension was taken away or diluted. You know, there have been a lot of very good, small restaurants in Paris that have been bought by big chains over the years, usually in the name of better management. But somehow their clients have stopped going, because they have lost their souls.
Interesting, how he just accused LVMH of McDonald's-ising the fashion industry... Among the other engrossing tidbits in Alice Rawsthorns story are these details, about an Hermès leatherworkers training:
Typically leather craftsmen study for two years at leather schools before joining Hermès and spending 18 months at its own school. They then do basic tasks while training on the job. It takes anywhere from six to 10 years before they can make every style of bag in all of the leathers, even ultratricky crocodile. Once they are trained, the leather craftsmen work on up to four bags at once, devoting roughly 20 hours to each one. Thats why you cant expect to walk into an Hermès store and buy whichever bag you wish. Our biggest challenge