Where Haute Couture Meets Technology: the Parisian Formula

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Van Cleef & Arpels

Not yet recovered from the frantic fashion week, Paris welcomed us with its most shining self. The Tour Eiffel lit up, the decorations around the streets and the numerous fashion exhibitions scattered around the city seemed to welcome our group, being the perfect complement to the fascinating company visits.

After a walking tour of Montmartre lead by the founder of ‘A French Frye in Paris’ to discover a secret Paris (did you know that in Montmartre there is the only vineyard producing directly from the city of Paris? Not the best wine in the area – apparently, since the surrounding buildings produce too much shade for the grapes to mature perfectly – but a one-of-a-kind bottle to try), the Chazen study tour kicked off with the Sunday dinner at ‘Le Train Bleu.’ Tasting the delicacies that the French cuisine offers while being surrounded by painted ceilings and wooden interiors was the perfect preparation for the week ahead.

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Van Cleef & Arpels

Off to a great start with the triple treat at Van Cleef & Arpels, where we had the unique opportunity of visiting the Haute Joaillerie laboratory: the place were the most unique pieces are crafted by hand with a process that can take as long as one full year. The pieces of art crafted in this laboratory are among the most iconic and precious ever made, ranging from the tiara made for Princess Charlene of Monaco to the iconic zipper necklace for which the Maison is well known or the ‘mystery sliding’ techniques which allows Van Cleef to hide the metal structure of the jewel under the gems.

L’école at Van Cleef & Arpels

After the laboratory, we visited l’École, a unique and very successful concept sponsored by the brand but run by full-time Professors whose aim is to transmit the love and knowledge of the jewelry industry to a wider public: spanning a wide range of classes and topics, it is worth a visit next time you happen to be in town. The last stop of our triple tour was the boutiques in Place Vendome, with their antique book archives and the ongoing exhibitions. In line with Van Cleef’s ability of embracing new technologies, the most complicated pieces were displayed with a QR code, to access the online information page and complement the offline experience with an online touch.

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Speaking of Artificial Intelligence application, we could have not landed in a better place than Heuritech. This startup company specialized in luxury has developed a proprietary technology based on deep learning which scans Instagram images to provide a precise feedback on the brands’ following. In fact, 81% of the content posted on Instagram remains hidden to the brand: very few people will tag all the brands they are wearing in each picture, making each item difficult to be traced by the brand itself. Heuritech’s technology allows the brand to benchmark its performance relative to its competitors, by teaching the machine how to recognize a certain item with an accuracy level that can arrive at 99%: an interesting application which has not gone unnoticed in the industry and that has already been awarded with the LVMH innovation award for 2017.

Women @ Dior

As a last minute surprise, the group was graciously invited to take part in the ‘Women @ Dior’ event: a two-day event where Dior mentors are reunited with their mentees to start a one-year journey together. The program is designed for women approaching the job market for the first time who will benefit from seasoned executives’ mentorship on how to better shape their career in the short and long-term. The essence of this initiative (already at its second edition) is explained by the words of Christian Dior itself: ‘Women, with their unfailing instinct, doubtlessly realized that my dream was to make them not only more beautiful, but happier too.’

After the Conference, Dior invited us to join the participants of the program for an evening reception where to meet and network with talented young women: sipping the signature champagne of the house and staring at the Tour Eiffel shining from not too far away, I caught myself wondering…. What else?

~ Alice Signori ’18

Welcome dinner at ‘Le Train Bleu’

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