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ROME — Louis Vuitton aims to perpetuate handcrafted artistry with its latest film project.

The French maison outlined the details of a three-year partnership with Italy’s oldest film school, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (Italian National film school) — an endeavor that will fuse Louis Vuitton’s savoir faire with the Italian cinematographers, set designers and costumers of tomorrow.

This story first appeared in the January 19, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Louis Vuitton’s support will assist in the formation of an honors committee composed of key figures in cinema; the tutoring of young talents enrolled at the National School of Cinema; the establishment of a scholarship for students with limited means; and the creation of workshops to complement the school’s current curriculum.

In its first year, the partnership will involve a costume workshop focusing on the design of the late 17th century, a project that will involve the participation of famed Italian costume designer Piero Tosi.

“Cinema has taken a lot from the fashion world,” said Marcello Foti, Centro Sperimentale’s general director. “But fashion has taken a lot from cinema,” Foti added.

Highlighting the project’s inspiration and ambitions, Louis Vuitton presented a 50-minute documentary made by Italian journalist Laura Delli Colli and director Guido Torlonia, narrated by Chiara Mastroianni and produced by Luchino Visconti di Modrone.

The film pays homage to the exquisite tradition of Italian cinema artisans and costume designers, and includes clips from epic films like “Ben-Hur” and “Kundun,” whose columns and temples were constructed by Italian artisans.

“I never felt like an artist — an artisan, yes,” said sculptor Gianni Gianese, who worked on historic Italian films like Federico Fellini’s “And the Ship Sails On” and “City of Women.”

“We share a lot of values in common: transmission of heritage, savoir faire, passion for creation and support of talent. We share that this is the oldest school, and we are a very old brand. It was very easy from the first discussion to understand how this partnership would live,” said Geoffroy van Raemdonck, South Europe president of Louis Vuitton.

Louis Vuitton will open a new Rome boutique, the Etoile Maison, at the end of this month, in a historic venue that has been dedicated to a cinema for almost a century.

The Rome Maison is one of 14 Louis Vuitton Maisons in the world. The sprawling boutique will come complete with a screening room.

Despite Italy’s lagging economy, Louis Vuitton hasn’t abandoned plans to invest further in Italy, and will open another Maison in Venice later this year, van Raemdonck explained.

“Italians are a key consumer for us. We need to look at the future. Italy will get out of this crisis,” van Raemdonck said.

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