Two years ago, I had the most amazing opportunity to have a private tour of the first Louis Vuitton factory in Asnières, France. It was originally Vuitton's house where he started the company and as it grew he built a factory off the back. It is still where they construct the steamer trunks and special order bags, but the house part has been vacated by the Vuitton famille and is now - with all the furniture still intact - a private museum. The thing that struck me the most on the tour, besides sitting in the salon and being served tea by a woman (in traditional black and white maid's attire) in LV's house-monogrammed, Limoges china (mmmkay), was the ingratiating and proud (in the best way) attitude of the factory workers I met there. "Factory workers" is so not the term to be used for these people. All clad in white lab coats, even if their particular job was as seemingly banal as pounding nails into the steamer trunk, watching them do it, with such precision and grace, awed me.
As long as I've had this company, I've wanted it to be important to produce the line in America. I think it's so cool to employ people in our own community, where they can take in pride what they're part of and in the fact that they're making quality items. This old invite to my event at Taylor De Cordoba gallery back in March it says it best:
Pheww! I'm sorry. That was a long way to tell you that I'm so excited to be at this Community Shop (first image) showcasing work made in America. [Train of thought: made in France or made in America = local pride in work force = self pride to be in show about lux things made locally, get it? hmm...] Anyway, Commune, the design firm behind the Ace Hotel Palm Springs and many other lovely endeavors, has invited me to be part it. Here's more from their invite:
It opens this weekend and I hope you can make it!! I'll be featuring a collaboration I've done with Commune principal, Roman Alonso, chic laptop clutches, made either of remnant, natural or just plain gorgeous leather. Hopefully soon to be on my site as well. The other participants are better known than me and they make an awesome line-up. If you're not familiar with them look them up, you'll drool and then bang down the door to get over there.
Here's what Max Padilla in the LA Times had to say about it:
November 20, 2009