By Ziyue XU
(GMBA - Luxury Brand Management)

On February 28th, 2023, the GMBA Luxury Brand Management cohort of ESSEC Business School was privileged to visit Christian Louboutin's brand new headquarters in Paris. We were warmly welcomed by Magali Clément, the Group Head of Human Resources, with an office tour. The office is not just a typical office but a modern and creative workspace fostering productivity and innovation. The combination of pop colors and Parisian elegance adds a touch of class and sophistication to the office, while the stunning view creates a sense of tranquility and calmness. We were amazed by the exceptional working conditions of the office.

Following the office tour, Magali Clément gave an insightful presentation about the brand, enabling the cohort to understand its history and unique value proposition. The presentation was delivered with such expertise that we were thoroughly engaged and captivated.

Later, the Group Chief Omnichannel, Client & Performance Officer Isabelle Durand introduced informatively about Christian Louboutin's Omnichannel strategy. She shared how the different departments work together to provide the best and most coherent consumer experience at every touchpoint. The presentation was interactive and insightful, and we were delighted that Isabelle Durand was open to sharing and answering diverse questions, giving us a valuable opportunity to directly interact with the industry expert.

Essec GMBA Luxury Brand Management 
The visit was an unusual activity that left a lasting impression on the cohort. The professionalism and warmth shown by the Christian Louboutin team made the experience even more remarkable. The visit was a perfect example of how a leading fashion brand can seamlessly blend innovation, creativity, and strong brand identity to create a unique value proposition that resonates with its customers. Overall, it was an incredible learning opportunity for us and an experience we will never forget.

GUEST SPEAKER SERIES | GUILLAUME DE SEYNES, Executive VP of Manufacturing and Equity Investments, Hermès


By Nybol Majok
(GMBA - Luxury Brand Management)

For more than 185 years, Hermès has been one of the most iconic and well recognized brands in the world. The French luxury brand was established in Paris in 1837 by Thierry Hermès, who founded the business selling high quality harnesses and bridles to the French elite and noblemen of his time. Under the direction of Thierry’s grandson, Emile-Maurice, the Hermès brand would elevate and expand outside of its niche. Eventually, the brand’s offerings expanded to handbags, silks and textiles, watches, fragrance, and more. Today, the Hermès family continues the brand’s tradition of unique craftsmanship and savoir-faire, which has cemented the brand’s superior quality and exclusivity.

The ESSEC GMBA Luxury Brand Management participants had the special honor of having Guillaume de Seynes, the current Executive Vice President of Manufacturing and Equity Investments and Member of the Executive Committee for Hermès, be a guest speaker and give a presentation. Monsieur de Seynes is the sixth generation of the Hermès family to run the business, and is also an alumnus of Essec Business School. Students had the opportunity to ask Monsieur de Seynes questions about the brand’s current market position and how Hermès continues to innovate and attract new customers. In response, Monsieur de Seynes stated that Hermès continues to stay committed to honoring its artisanal heritage and upholdings its principles of refinement and high quality. Nearly every product produced by Hermès is handmade by their skilled craftsmen in one of Hermès’s 52 ateliers based in France. As quoted by former CEO Jean-Louis Dumas, “we don’t have a policy of image, we have a policy of product”. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that Hermès has maintained such signficant cultural currency in both luxury and the world.



By Pedro Gaspar Pereira
(GMBA - Luxury Brand Management)

On the 5th of December, the ESSEC GMBA Luxury Brand Management cohort ventured into Paris’ 9th district, to visit the Atelier of a legendary boot maker, John Lobb.

John Lobb is a brand born in England, with over 150 years of history, as the boot maker of Royalty and of men and women with the appreciation for finely, durable, and exquisite hand crafted shoes. Since 1982, following the integration of the Brand within the Hermès family in 1976, the brand offers a ready to wear collection. Its revolving assortment of ready to wear shoes, boots and small leather goods is made in Northampton, England – so what were we doing in Paris?

It just so happens that John Lobb is a brand with one foot in England and one foot in France, and the “French foot” only wears Made-to-Measure.
Our visit started with a meeting with Philippe Gonzalez, the Brand’s CEO and with Patrick Verdillon, Director of Made-to-Measure where we were guided through the history of John Lobb, of what is happening in the Brand at the moment and where the Brand wants to go in the future. Afterwards, we were given a tour of the workshop where artisans still rely on decades old tools to create the pairs of shoes of their client’s dreams - why? As we were told: “no one has come up with anything better yet”.

During the tour we were able to see all the stages of the creation of a made to measure John Lobb pair of shoes, from the construction of the unique moulds based on the client’s specific measures, to the dedicated finishing process that ensures a unique patina in years to come.

After this immersion into the world of pure craftsmanship, we had the pleasure of meeting with Pierre-Alexis Corson, Director of Communication and with Sylvain Joubert, International Commercial Director, with whom we had an insightful conversation about what it has been like to expand the Brand, the pleasures of working for what it still is very much a family business, and what should we keep in mind as we seek to make our way into the luxury next year.

This was undoubtably a fascinating and intimate visit, and one that left us craving more! Join us on the next one, will you?



By Tania Rocha
(GMBA - Luxury Brand Management)

To understand Luxury is to decode the history of the most powerful luxury brand in the world – LVMH and what better way to learn about LVMH than to visit the founding house of Louis Vuitton. As part of our savoir faire visits, the ESSEC GMBA’23 team had the wonderful opportunity of visiting the LV Atelier at Asnières-sur seine where we were personally guided by Mr Thierry de Longevialle on the brand’s history and legacy.

Born to a poor family in the east of France, Louis Vuitton decided to move to Paris on foot and found his place in this iconic city as a packer. Under the tutelage of Monsieur Maréchal and after 17 years of apprenticeship, Louis decided to start his own business as a trunk maker in 1854. As success followed him, he looked to further expand his business and in 1859 built the beautiful Atelier at Asnières-sur seine, which continues to be the core facility that trains the master craftsman of the house.

Starting with the business of trunkmaking, LV soon began to transform the luxury industry and became the first brand to display brand logos with their infamous Monogram Canvas.

The GMBA cohort was later shown a documentary of the work done at the atelier along with a tour of the museum which showcased some of the brand’s original trunks. These original pieces, although strong and sturdy on the inside, still reflected the wear and tear of life on its shell, which the house beautifully describes as “the life of the luggage”. A true example of how heritage can only fortify the brand with the passage of time.

Louis Vuitton had centered his brand around creativity and innovation, and unbeknownst to him, set into motion events that would give birth to the leader in luxury today. Although the day had come to an end and we had to bid adieu, we left knowing we had just experienced an opportunity of a lifetime and with our very own LV memento to remind us of the journey of our journey here.

Savoir-Faire visit | Elsa Schiaparelli Exhibition - MUSÈE DES ARTS DÈCORATIFS

By Harshita Ande 
(GMBA - Luxury Brand Management)

The Luxury Brand Management track of GMBA at ESSEC had the opportunity to visit Elsa Schiaparelli exhibition at Musèe des Arts dècoratifs on November 17th. The grandeur of the entrance stayed true to the expectations we had for the visit.

The tour started with exquisite story telling of Elsa Schiaparelli, who was known for her amusing prints, by our inspiring guide and story-teller, guide Jean-Philippe Constant, Professor of the Ecole Camondo .Schiaparelli outdid herself in July 1937 with a particularly clever “passion thermometer” motif that depicted mercury rising between the poles of ‘Indifference’ and ‘Passion’ . More salient with regards to the state of fashion today is the designer’s renegade, and highly collaborative, approach to her work. Schiaparelli was self-taught. Her social standing and education had exposed her to style and the arts , and her sophisticated, often eccentric designs brought the thrill to the world of fashion.

Displayed on two levels, the exhibition is organized both thematically and chronologically around key moments in the career of Elsa Schiaparelli, linking her most remarkable collections from year to year with the works of friends and contemporaries who inspired her fashion designs. These works are placed throughout the exhibition, punctuating important stages in Schiaparelli’s life and the evolution of her design. The introductory room, a vast and immersive space, is dedicated to the drawings of the couturière which number in their hundreds, conveying the extent of her work. The awakening of the artist in fashion and modernity is explored alongside the defining role that designer Paul Poiret played as a mentor in Schiaparelli’s life beginning in 1922.The mythical tandem formed by Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dalí, muzzled by a spicy taste of scandal and artistic provocation, is highlighted in a room dedicated to him revealing the iconic "lobster dress" or the famous "shoe hat", a kind of surrealist bibi.

She develops her acute sense of detail through models largely inspired by the Surrealist aesthetic, introducing marvelous patterns and materials in transparent plastics, crawfish shaped buttons, “drawer pockets,” and lobsters. 

The exhibition continues with thematic collections that Elsa Schiaparelli initiates alone around sources of inspiration that are dear to her – Italian antiquity, nature and music. Known for her originality and taste for surrealism, seamstress Elsa Schiaparelli has worked with several artists, including her friend Jean Cocteau. In 1937, she used some of her drawings to decorate three of her creations like tailor embroidered “WOMAN’S HEAD” - on a grey linen jacket, “ELIC” Brooch - eye-shaped brooch, embellished with a tear-shaped pearl, Schiaparelli coat embroidered with two faces in TROMPE L'ŒIL AND SHOCKING ROSES.

Reminiscing how awestruck the whole cohort was experiencing the style and uniqueness of the exhibition, we went back hoping to continue creating these wonderful memories in our next visit as well.