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Opulence 101: Lessons from Fashion Designers

Two venerable French institutions are pulling back the curtains to reveal the craftsmanship behind their stylish goods. L’Ecole Van Cleef & Arpels (from $750) offers four-hour classes on jewelry history and design in a gilded 18th-century atelier on Paris’s Place Vendôme. Students can try on a few sparklers, too. Stateside, Hermès is hosting the Festival des Metiers, a traveling exhibition making stops in New York, San Francisco, and Houston this fall. Visitors can interact with artisans sewing supple leather into Kelly bags using techniques first developed in the 1930’s. Sadly, you don’t get extra credit for shopping.

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