Polimoda classroom

LONDON — Cartier parent Compagnie Financière Richemont has partnered with the Florentine fashion institute Polimoda on a degree program for one of the hottest roles in the industry: luxury business management.

WWD has learned that the master’s degree program in luxury business management will start in April and will be held on Polimoda’s campus in Florence. An announcement is expected Friday.

Principals describe the new program as “highly specialized,” and one that explores the fundamentals and key factors that shape the luxury business, such as heritage, craftsmanship and creativity.

The aim, they say, is “to build the knowledge and skill set needed to operate in one of the most exclusive and demanding” markets in the world.

“In order to operate in a dynamic environment such as the world of fashion, and especially in the luxury sector, a good theoretical background is no longer sufficient,” said Danilo Venturi, director of Polimoda. “Real field experience in the sector is essential, understanding rules and dynamics, and applying theory to real case studies. This is why our courses are based on the direct transmission of knowledge, involving industry professionals and partners among the key industry players, of which Richemont is a shining example. Students will have the opportunity to learn directly from the best.”

Founded in Florence in 1986, Polimoda is an undergraduate and post-graduate school specializing in fashion and luxury, and educates more than 2,000 students from around the world each year. Its president is Ferruccio Ferragamo while Linda Loppa serves as adviser of strategy and vision.

A tailor-made curriculum has been developed for the new program, consisting of seven intensive modules: Brand, craftsmanship, design, quality, prestige, uniqueness and price.

Lectures will be given by field experts, including representatives from Richemont and its brands, who will be expected to share their day-to-day experiences of running companies.

The program will include several study trips, such as a week in Paris, giving students the opportunity to experience actual business scenarios in which they will have to engage. At the end of the course, the best students will be selected by Richemont for an internship or a work experience within one of its houses, allowing them to turn their knowledge into practice.

“We are delighted to collaborate with Polimoda to offer such a dynamic program that will undoubtedly prepare the next generation of fashion and luxury business leaders,” said Jérôme Lambert, chief operating officer of Richemont, which owns a range of luxury, fashion and accessories brands including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, IWC, Dunhill, Lancel, Azzedine Alaïa and Chloé.

Richemont also has a 49 percent equity-accounted interest in the publicly traded Yoox Net-a-porter Group.

The Polimoda partnership is the latest in a string of Richemont education-related initiatives that include an academic chair in microtechnology with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, a research institute and university based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Richemont also funds a program that trains future manufacturing leaders at the Swiss school.

The company has created a new research and innovation center within Microcity, the Switzerland-based innovation hub that hosts about 30 of Richemont’s engineers specializing in micro-systems, micro-manufacturing and micro-engineering.

The luxury giant also owns three watch schools, a retail academy in Shanghai and a creative academy based in Milan that specializes in jewelry, watch and accessories design. It sponsors the Van Cleef & Arpels School of Fine Arts in Paris and has partnerships with institutions including the French business school ESSEC, École Boulle and Central Saint Martins.