Mirrors, fine linen, fine china, or silk: this made France the renowned nation of luxury.
This two-parts documentary is a dive into the fascinating origins of this industry, on historical, economical, scientific, and cultural terms.
French Luxury, as we picture it today, was created under Louis XIV’s reign, as a response to economic crisis. In the 17th and 18th century, the ingenuity of the king and his advisors started a new era: new ways of trading, technical and scientific innovations, new financing systems, birth of diverse fields of competence… Pools of experts were created, and played a key role in the industry. Focused on special and precise skills, they provided the “excellence” in each craft.
The thread line is the daily life of a dynasty of merchants, who were in charge of selling luxury goods. More than salespeople or dealers, they were welcome to Versailles and to different known “salons” of Paris. They were closed to the bourgeois entrepreneurs, the inventors and shareholders. Keystone of this newly born industry, these merchants were part of industrial intelligence, court intrigues, games of influence, and innovation. But what made all this possible? What tricks and strategies were thought of? And who were the people who made it happen?