Florence Rambaud

MILAN — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has found a home in Italy for its Institut des Métiers d’Excellence and the vocational training program inaugurated its Italian headquarters at Palazzo Pucci in Florence on Monday as it plans new partnerships in the country. The ceremony marks the beginning of the courses, in collaboration with Polimoda, for the 27 students selected.

“To give life to the ideas of an artistic director is exciting,” said Florence Rambaud, director of IME. “There is a real desire to do beautiful things with one’s hands and there are a lot of people who change jobs and become craftsmen.”

Rambaud said Florence, being a cradle of “culture and creativity,” and Emilio Pucci’s own history stand for what LVMH “wants to represent. Laudomia [Pucci] has been a great supporter since the beginning.” Florence is also near one of Italy’s main leather goods hubs in Scandicci. “It was an obvious choice,” Rambaud said.

Students will have the opportunity to divide their time between school and training at Bulgari, Céline, Christian Dior, Fendi, Loro Piana and Louis Vuitton, all controlled by LVMH. “We have worked for a year to build a program from scratch. We want cross-fertilization and to avoid the silos [effect], finding solutions with different techniques and being very concrete.”

She was enthusiastic about the work done so far by other IME students, “unbelievable things that one cannot imagine,” and about how they “learn to work on a project and as a team for individual and collective excellence.” The program also creates synergies between France and Italy, she said.

The inauguration at Palazzo Pucci coincided with the beginning of the academic year for the first apprentices in training courses created in partnership with Polimoda and For.Al in leather goods and jewelry, respectively. As reported in July, LVMH is extending its vocational training model to Italy through a partnership between IME and Italian fashion and design school Polimoda, aimed at training leather-goods artisans, beginning with the 2017-18 school year.

For.Al is based in Valenza and IME participants will train at Bulgari, which is located in the storied goldsmith district. 

Rambaud said IME is also developing two new programs, in retail and a “client adviser” course in Venice, and another dedicated to footwear near Padova, also in the Veneto region, “hopefully” in 2018.

The existing programs are funded by the Tuscany and Piedmont regions. The apprenticeships alternate between theoretical education at the schools and practical training at the LVMH companies and also include language training and original course content, with master classes for both specific skill sets and multiple métiers. Rambaud underscored how LVMH focuses on the “transmission of Italian savoir-faire” and how IME plays “an active role in developing the employability of young people in these regions.”

Created in 2014, the IME program offers work and study vocational training programs designed to ensure the transmission of knowhow that involve artisanal craftsmanship, creative and retail skills. To date more than 300 apprentices have joined the program to train for different professions. IME is involved in schooling more than 200 young people in areas including jewelry, dressmaking, winemaking, leather goods, culinary arts, watches, luxury retail and design together with partner institutions in France and Switzerland. They include BJO Formation in Paris for jewelry, the École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne for fashion and the Ferrandi Paris school for gastronomy.

The program is expected to find a permanent home with the creation of La Maison LVMH/Arts–Talents–Patrimoine in the Bois de Boulogne near Paris. Like the nearby Fondation Louis Vuitton, it will be designed by architect Frank Gehry.

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