Fashion  L’ÉCOLE Van Cleef & Arpels in Hong Kong: we were there!
11/03/201618:35 TV5MONDE


© Van Cleef & Arpels


L’ÉCOLE Van Cleef & Arpels is back in Hong Kong for the second edition after 2 years, at the Qube of PMQ. The nomadic Paris-based school is establishing itself in 3 cities in the world: New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. We had the opportunity to visit this growing school, full of passionate people and to interview the president and founder: Ms. Marie Vallanet–Delhom, in order to learn more about her views and inspiration for the project itself.
 
 
Continue reading to start the visit!

 


© Van Cleef & Arpels
 
 
The Qube has been especially and carefully arranged for this second edition of L’École V&A, and what a fantastic work! We were immediately bewitched by the luminosity of the room featured with large sofas ; a few exhibitions of museum collections and a significant library really standing out, the whole sprinkled with the elegant classical music of the concerto for clarinet.
 
While taking a look at the exhibition we discovered the colorful Van Cleef & Arpels collection of Animals in Jewelry (clips) from the 1960’s and inspired by cartoons. These are apparently a great success in Japan. 

 


 
The second exhibition presented the Lacquered Butterflies (clips), the result of a collaboration work between V&A and a Japanese lacquer master. Some clips are even made of wood. 

The third exhibition took place in another room, closer from the ateliers or workshops. The whole corridor is dedicated to fashion and lifestyle with hanging frames, photographs, sketches and explanations…. There, we discovered the Minaudièreits history and a collection. Where does the word Minaudière come from? It has not been cleared whether it comes from the family cottage of Charles Arpels or from the French verb “minauder” which means to simper. It was created by Charles Arpels as an improved version of the vanity case, in which all the necessary objects for an elegant lady can be kept and easily accessible (from the powder compact to the lighter and a cigarette-holder…). Some minaudières even include a watch (Minaudière Yellow gold, styptor, diamonds, acquired by the Maharajah of Rajpipla). 


© Van Cleef & Arpels

 
The different ateliers are located around this corridor and there is one room for each workshop.

 


© Van Cleef & Arpels
 

 
A few facts & figures about L’École V&A:
 
It was founded in 2012 while the Maison V&A was created in 1936
The 10 courses cover 3 main themes: Savoir-faire, Art History of Jewelry and the Universe of Gemstones
There are maximum 12 students per class (3 to 4 hours for one session)
The price varies from 3,300 HKD to 6,200 HKD per class
Hong Kong second edition includes 14 instructors

 


© Van Cleef & Arpels


 
We thank Ms. Marie Vallanet–Delhom for her time and her kindness while answering our questions. 
 
 
TV5MONDE: How did you come up with the idea of a school of Art of Jewelry?
 
 

Marie VD: L’École V&A was created on February 14th in 2012. The school was created one year after the idea was first suggested. One evening, some colleagues and myself were having a simple discussion when we realized how lucky we were to do our job and to be handling such beautiful pieces of arts all day long. We thought that it was a real opportunity of which other people were not aware. The universe of High Jewelry is a secret world and so are the professions. So we imagined it could be great to transmit this know-how and this passion to others, which is exactly the purpose of a school. I also realized that there was no such school and it is still the case today. Except for some professional schools leading to professional qualifications, L’École V&A is the first school in the universe of High Jewelry aiming at the general public initiation. 

It’s a real gift to create something that didn’t exist before! 
 


© Van Cleef & Arpels
 
 
TV5MONDE: Why is the school settled in Paris? Why did you choose to develop in these cities?
 
Marie VD: In France, the Art of High Jewelry originates from Paris and dates from the 17th Century during the reign of Louis XIV, much involved in the promotion of Arts. He encouraged all forms of Arts: gastronomy; fashion; jewelry... It was symbolic to establish the school in Paris, and even more significant in Place Vendôme. 
In order to reach more people, the first destination for the L'École V&A was Japan in 2013, then Hong Kong, and eventually New York at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. 
Each time the school travels, the spirit will remain. The goal is not to create the exact reproduction of a flat from Place Vendôme, but to adapt locally keeping the core ethics.  
 
The choice of cities is based on the opportunities we had as well as the local people's characteristics and behaviors. In Asia and more precisely in Japan, people have a constant thirst for new knowledge. They are looking to educate themselves and to learn new skills… In Hong Kong people are very curious and enjoy experiencing new things. 
In the US, the High Jewelry Arts and Culture is both fascinating and different so it was a good idea to bring a new vision with the “Joaillerie à la Française” (French Art of Jewelry). 
The next destination will be the Arab Emirates in 2017.  This place shows great dynamism among the people who are not supposedly familiar with the European culture and arts, which we think could be interesting to share with them.

 


© Van Cleef & Arpels
 
 
TV5MONDE: Who are the students from L’École Van Cleef & Arpels
 
Marie VD: The profiles are all different and so are their ages and backgrounds. I remember a course including both a 17 years old student and a 83-year old lady! Can you imagine? Our students are all curious about the Art of Jewelry in general. Some of them are novice and eager to learn. Some of them have started initiating themselves with books and are now getting at the point when they need a teacher i.e. the gemmology course requires technical skills. 
We also bring a unique teaching method at our school to make sure the students understand and enjoy themselves, which is very important. Not only they come to learn, they also come to have fun while learning and having a real experience. 
 

 


© Van Cleef & Arpels
 
 
TV5MONDE: What's the next step after the course for students?
 
Marie VD: Taking a course at L’École V&A can be revelation for some students (courses are free for children and teenagers). We also have some adults who are in the middle of a professional reconversion and who fall in love with Jewelry Art and who decide they want to become professional. We help them as we can advice for schools. Some also are happy to create their own opinion or to become educated connoisseurs. 
 
 


© Van Cleef & Arpels
 

TV5MONDE: Who are the teachers at L’École V&A?
 
 
Marie VD:  There are 23 teachers among the team. Some teachers are jewelry makers from the Maison V&A and have been trained for teaching at L’École V&A. Some of them are chosen externally. At the end, all of them are experts, passionate about their job and willing to transmit their knowledge. 
I believe it is important for our students to be encouraged by our teachers, welcomed with a positive energy and entertained in a very human and natural way. Sometimes, the world of High Jewelry is seen as upmarket and not easily reachable. But here at L’École V&A, it’s the opposite and all out teachers are accessible. It’s important that the world of Arts High Jewelry included remains accessible to everyone no matter the object or the price of the material.

 


© Van Cleef & Arpels
 
 
TV5MONDE: What is different from the first edition in Hong Kong in 2013?
 
Marie VD: We have added new courses. We love being in HK. The whole event is a very rewarding experience. Everyone who participates including teachers, are all very happy and feel transported by the students’ enthusiasm. 

 


© Van Cleef & Arpels

 
 
TV5MONDE: What role plays the Maison V&A in L’École V&A?  
 
Marie VD: The Maison V&A is the generous benefactor of L’École V&A allowing L’École’s independence. It's a beautiful partnership. 
 
 

 
Date: march 4th – March 14th from 9.30 am till 5.30 pm
Venue: the QUBE, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong (Staunton Street Entrance)
 
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