Day one of LVMH at VivaTech: Thursday 24th May 2018



After the arrival of French President Emmanuel Macron and a swift tour of the LVMH Luxury Lab by LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault, the first day of VivaTech 2018 kicked off with opening remarks by the Group’s Chief Digital Officer, Ian Rogers. In his riveting speech, the former executive of Beats Electronics and Apple Music praised innovation as one of the key tenets of LVMH’s DNA and reiterated its importance for the Group’s future. Concluding with the words “Everybody here is a winner!” as thirty budding startups watched on beneath the hive-like canopy of tessellated hexagons, a tangible buzz seemed to resonate through the audience.

Here is just a flavour of some of day’s events as they unfolded.

Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH

LVMH at VivaTech: Putting humans at the heart of digital transformation in luxury

Approaching the question of how fashion Houses can unleash the potential of digital transformation, Céline’s Digital Director details why combining fashion and digital is a challenging combination to master, and gives us a little context of how he has confronted the challenge throughout his career at LVMH. With a somewhat uncharacteristic background in the motor industry, he joined the LVMH group through Louis Vuitton, as Marc Jacobs took to the creative helm.

After learning the ropes of many diverse departments, he was thrown into the deep end when it came to digital and one of his initial tasks on the digital team for Louis Vuitton was to build the first mobile-friendly website for the brand, a feat he and his team achieved in a matter of months. On his success so far, he attributes he and his team’s approach which put people at the core of their strategy.

His more recent tenure as Digital Director of Céline has meant great transformation for the brand. “Céline plus digital equals what?”, he asks mid-way through his keynote speech on unleashing the potential of digital transformation in luxury. A list of risks and successes follows, punctuated by some astounding statistics. “Reconciling luxury’s need for exclusivity with social media’s purpose of democratisation is challenging, as is expressing brand values while trying to satisfy client expectations and business objectives. And yet, in just over a year, Céline now counts 1.2 million fans online without a single paid ad and we continue to have high engagement with our brand online from our target markets.”

Ian Rogers, Chief Digital Officer de LVMH

LVMH at VivaTech: Raising a glass to the future of luxury

From vine to wine and beyond, digital is revolutionising the Oenology—or wine development—department at Krug. Stepping on stage with a single black tome (one of a whole library amassed over the years), Krug’s oenology department manager and winemaker quality manager outlined their ongoing project of digitising and future-proofing the age-old art of vinification in the hopes of refining and preserving it for future generations of vintners.

Detailing every decision the House of Krug has made since 1843 along with descriptions of each vintage, their library of black books archives a whole host of information pertaining to winemaking, including the species of grape used, the climactic changes and the state of the land, the vinification processes and the feedback from the wine-tasters.

With over 4,000 notes and 3,000 comments on wines recorded each year, Julie and Jérôme muse, “As you can imagine, trawling through those many black books was hardly efficient, especially in the digital age. It is for that reason that we made the decision to transform our black book into a digital tool.”

“Every decision we make revolves around taste. As such, we decided to pursue digitising this tasting process.” Aside from archiving all the information they have already amassed into a digital database, their Black Book tool allows wine-tasters to record their sensory observations and personal evaluations for each wine they savour directly online. Characteristics such as a wine’s complexity, freshness, maturity and elegance are all recorded for posterity and thanks to a powerful search engine, specific wines defined by these characteristics can be relocated in a matter of seconds.

Ending with the words “Cheers to smart-tasting!”, we’ll certainly raise a glass to that!

LVMH at VivaTech: Fragrance & Facebook

Pivoting from wine to fragrance, perfumer Francis Kurkdjian took to the stage to discuss how he is innovating within his Maison by mixing molecules and maroquinerie. Taking inspiration from age-old perfume recipes, some which date almost as far back as a millennium, Francis Kurkdjian is crafting a legacy by reconciling tradition and modernity and his creations often possess several purposes, without compromising on quality.

Giving way to the remaining start-up finalists to pitch their ideas to the LVMH Innovation Award Jury, all that remained was for Mark Zuckerberg to round of the day’s events with an optimistic outlook of the future of the digital market: “The majority of people in the world is not on the internet yet, so that’s going to grow.”

With that in mind, even the not-so-distant future looks promising. Tomorrow Bernard Arnault will take to the VivaTech main stage to announce the winner of the LVMH Innovation Award winner. Stay tuned.