Success stories are common among Creative Academy students. The Master Program is tailored to help its talented young designers find inspiring work opportunities, be it with the Maisons, by launching a brand or working independently. Here are some highlights.
Francesco Torre, from Italy, attended the 11th edition of the Master Program in 2014. He did his internship at Roger Dubuis in Geneva, after which the Maison hired him as a designer. Francesco’s main job responsibilities include conceiving design concepts of original, architectural watch skeletons; developing related CAD models; elaborating quasi-realistic visuals; researching potential partner brands and their product identifiers; and creating design visuals for partnership projects.
Nicoletta Saracco, from Italy, completed the 10th edition of the Creative Academy Master Program in 2013. She did her internship at Chloé Milan and was then hired as Junior Designer, working on entire collections from start to finish, including research, sketches, visualizations, and backstage jobs during fashion show fittings and runway shows.
From France, Arnaud Fillon’s Creative Academy Master Program training in 2007 helped land him a job as a watch designer at Piaget. After two years, he returned to Paris to work as a jewelry designer in Cartier’s Creation Studio, where he collaborated with a talented team, gaining legitimacy and expertise. Still with Cartier, Arnaud now designs high jewelry for the leading Maison.
Yijun Song, from China, attended the 6th edition of the Master Program in 2009. After his internship as assistant to the accessories designer at Cartier’s Creation Studio in Paris, he was hired as an accessories designer himself. He currently spends most of his time at Cartier, where he is highly appreciated, both for the quality of his work and his attitude and geniality.
Marianne Déspre, from France, attended the 7th edition of the Creative Academy Master Program in 2010. She did her internship at Van Cleef & Arpels, Paris and she ended up staying at the prestigious Maison where she now holds a position as designer. She currently leverages her expertise to create, draw and design Jewelry and High Jewelry pieces of Van Cleef & Arpels.
Julien Gurtner, from Switzerland, attended Creative Academy’s 10th edition of the Master Program in 2013. He did his internship at IWC Schaffhausen in Switzerland. Since March 2014 he works in Schaffhausen as an IWC watch designer, in charge of one of the families of products within the IWC portfolio.
Haruka Usui, from Japan, attended the 10th edition of the Creative Academy Master Program in 2013. After her internship at Montblanc in Hamburg, Germany as assistant to the Design Studio Manager, Haruka was hired by the Maison as a designer of leather goods, and is based at the Montblanc leather factory in Florence, Italy.
Caroline Müller, from Switzerland, attended the 7th edition of the Creative Academy Master Program in 2010. She did her internship at Montblanc Le Locle, Switzerland assisting with watch projects. Caroline ended up staying at Montblanc Le Locle where she now holds a position as watch designer for the prestigious Maison.
A student of Creative Academy’s 6th edition of the Master Program in 2009, William Rogge, from Belgium, did his internship at IWC Schaffhausen in Switzerland. He was a Visual Merchandising & Accessories Designer until September 2014 and is presently Global Manager of Visual Merchandising for IWC, overseeing global visual merchandising, displays, POS decoration and mobile exhibitions.
Elisa Guardamagna, from Italy, completed the 11th edition of Creative Academy’s Master Program in 2014. Following her internship at Cartier Paris, she worked as an independent designer for the Maison, until being hired for a permanent design position in 2016. She is responsible for a complete line that includes the permanent collection and the creative editions.
A Student of the 2nd edition of the Master Program in 2005, Ivan Martin Martin, from Spain, did his internship at Officine Panerai in Milan, following which the Maison hired him as a designer. He currently works as senior designer at Officine Panerai, upholding the Maison image. He is responsible for product creativity, from design briefs to the development of innovative designs that perpetuate the image of the brand.
Ilka Smyreck, from Germany, attended the 1st edition of the Master Program in 2004 and did her internship at A. Lange & Söhne, where she worked for two years as a watch designer. Since 2006, she has held the position of senior designer at Officine Panerai in Milan. Responsible for the creation of new products, her job ranges from design briefs to the development of innovative pieces that perpetuate the image of the brand.
Irene Tignino, from Italy, attended the 9th edition of the Master Program in 2012. Following her studies at the Creative Academy, Irene joined the Maison Giampiero Bodino as an intern in September 2012. She was hired as a designer in March 2013. Her main responsibilities are to research new design inspirations, create sketches, give life to creative ideas, design final gouaches to brief the workshops and follow the making of the jewels.
Italian Lionello Recchia completed the 10th edition of the Creative Academy Master Program in 2013. After studying at the Creative Academy, Lionello did a 3-month internship at Vacheron Constantin in Geneva, Switzerland. He then joined the Maison Giampiero Bodino as a designer in February 2014. Lionello’s main responsibilities are to propose new designs, give life to creative ideas, design final gouaches and follow the making of the jewels.
Zhijiao Shen, from China, attended the 9th edition of the Master Program in 2012. After her internship at Montblanc, she continued working there until 2014, at which point she joined Shanghai Tang, Hong Kong, as a homeware designer. She currently designs products such as fragrances, picture frames, enamel and lacquer boxes, tableware and desk items. From a concept, she creates shapes and graphics focused on Chinese savoir-faire to express a chic, modern, Chinese lifestyle.
A Student of the 11th edition of the Master Program in 2014, Stephanie Bila, from the United Kingdom, did her internship at Shanghai Tang in Hong Kong, after which the Maison hired her as a jewelry designer. Stephanie generates concepts and designs jewelry for core and seasonal collections. She pitches her ideas to executive management, including the executive chairman and creative director, and also manages sample production and factory communication.
Catherine Selosse, from France, attended the 8th edition of the Creative Academy Master Program in 2011. After studying at the Creative Academy, Catherine did her internship at Cartier in Paris. She then joined the Maison Van Cleef & Arpels as a gouaches designer in January 2012. Catherine’s main responsibilities include outlining and creating gouaches by hand, as well as collaborating with the publishing department on external communication outlets like the catalog, among others.
A Student of the 2009 Master Program, Maxime Geib, from France, did his internship at IWC Schaffhausen in Switzerland. In 2012 he was hired at Van Cleef & Arpels as a designer specialized in horology. He currently ensures the materials and color selection of the products in accordance with technical constraints, while applying his expertise toward creating, drawing and designing the Maison’s timepieces. He is also in charge of analyzing information that conditions product creation.
A Student of the 2009 Master Program, Emilie Vuilleumier, from Switzerland, did her internship at Vacheron Constantin, where she stayed working as Junior Designer. She soon mastered the Maison’s key design aspects and was promoted to Atelier Cabinotier Design Manager, overseeing all the creative aspects of made-to-order, unique timepieces. Emilie was notably the designer of the 2015 Vacheron Constantin pocket watch, Reference 57260, the most complicated watch ever made in the history of watchmaking.
Agathe Desbois, from France, attended the 10th edition of the Creative Academy Master Program in 2013. She did her internship at Piaget in Switzerland and ended up staying at the Maison where she now creates High Jewellery watch designs – including sketches, technical drawings and gouaches – for the Biennale des Antiquaires, SIHH and special orders. She collaborates on product development, safeguarding the ethos of the brand and presenting it in her creations.
A student of the 2013 Master Program, Lea Schroeder, from Luxembourg, did her internship at Lancel in Paris where she was hired as a designer. Lea was instrumental in creating the new graphic language of the Maison by reinterpreting the Lancel heritage with a modern twist. She has translated the classic Fables de la Fontaine into vibrant scarves, marrying classic French storytelling with fresh, contemporary codes.
Guo Sifan, from China, attended the 2010 Creative Academy Master Program. She did her internship at Jaeger-LeCoultre, Switzerland and ended up staying at the Maison where she currently works as a watch designer. She follows exciting projects from their early beginnings until their final creation. During the creative process, she shares her ideas with colleagues from many different departments, from designers to watchmakers, as well as material specialists, gem setters and enamellers.
A Student of the 2010 Master Program, Valéry Aubert, from Switzerland, did his internship at A. Lange & Söhne, Germany. After this he was hired at Jaeger-LeCoultre where he’s currently in charge of the Duometre line. He develops products, starting with hand drawings and finishing with a high realistic renderings. His mission continues with press presentations during SIHH, as well as assisting with publications and photo shootings.
Sophia Magallanes Leal, from Mexico, attended the 2009 Master Program. In 2013, she was hired as Jewelry Designer at Cartier Paris. She creates and designs jewelry, either drawing by hand or using 3D models and gouache paintings, all while respecting Cartier’s aesthetic heritage. She follows the development of the designs chosen for production, selecting precious materials, and optimizing the jewels, both aesthetically and technically, together with jewelers and technical experts.
Swan Lucia Kim, from USA, attended the 2006 Master Program. In 2010, she was hired as High Jewelry Watch Designer at Cartier in Paris and, in 2014, she became High Jewelry Designer. Her main role is to enhance precious gemstones into unique design pieces, following the production process from start to finish. Her designs are inspired by everything from the physical to the most abstract and she is particularly influenced by the Cartier DNA.
A Student of the 2011 Master Program, Sun Min Lee, from South Korea, did her internship in the Leather Goods department at Cartier. Afterwards she was hired by the High Jewelry Watch department and later transferred to the traditional watch department. She creates new aesthetics for traditional and jewelry watches, including Métiers d’Art. Each creation goes through the process of hand-sketching and technical drawing with illustrator, then Photoshop and the final watercolor rendering.
Christopher Lopes, from Switzerland, attended the 12th edition of the Creative Academy Master Program in 2015. After his internship at Cartier, Paris, he was hired at Piaget, Switzerland in the Jewelry Design Studio. He now works in a creative role, presenting new marketing ideas on entry-level products, high jewelry and special orders. He works on Illustrator and Photoshop, making gouaches and sketches.
A student of Creative Academy’s class of 2012, Cristina Novati, from Milan, now works at Jaeger-LeCoultre. As a jewelry watch designer, Cristina participates in the entire creative process from start to finish. The skills she acquired at the Academy helped launch her career, which thrives thanks to passion for her work and her appreciation for the beauty of craftsmanship.
After a childhood spent in his family’s workshop, Luca Iacomucci, from Italy, launched his career in luxury design working for Hermès. In 2005, he decided to strengthen his professional training with the Creative Academy Master Program, after which he joined Cartier. Promoted to senior designer, he spends his time creating one-of-a-kind pieces that reflect the prestigious Maison’s identity and allure.
As part of the Creative Academy Master Program training in 2010, Adriano Spilimbergo, from Italy, interned at Jaeger-LeCoultre. Upon completion, the Swiss Maison hired him as a designer, a position he has held since 2010. Albeit challenging, Adriano describes the experience as life changing. He brings new watch designs to life from first concept to final realization, working as a team to achieve the best results.