The history of the school is closely linked with the movement of the emancipation of women, lead in particular by Élisa Lemonnier who was disgusted by the condition of her kind, opened a sewing workshop then created the Society for Vocational Training for women. This gave rise to the school in the rue Duperré in 1864, where sewing and artistic professions were given the highest importance.
An enlightened pedagogue, she set up modern teaching methods, combining general education, artistic practice and techniques enabling young girls to have access to a future and careers they had previously seemed to have been excluded from.
At the same time, between 1911 and 1913, the city of Paris had this unusual building of brick, glass and steel built in the rue Dupetit-Thouars, which from 1923 housed two schools of applied arts for boys, Germain Pilon and Bernard Palissy schools. Their names still decorate the façade of the school and they are still known affectionately as the Zarza (Arts-A).
1969 was the last year of the great shake up. The boys’ school moved to rue Olivier de Serres and the girls’ school moved into rue Dupetit-Thouars and kept, through nostalgia or vanity, the nickname “Duperré”. Co-education was introduced and boys could finally study fashion and textiles and girls, ceramics.
The Duperré School of Applied Arts is for higher education and is still a public school of the city of Paris but its teachers come under the authority of the Ministry for Education and its diplomas are ratified by the Ministry for Higher Education.
The present building
Built between 1911 and 1913, it was meant to bring together two municipal schools of applied arts for boys, Germain Pilon school and Bernard Palissy school, in the 10th and 3rd arrondissements of Paris. This explains the inscription carved above the entrance of the school. The new School of Arts Applied to Industry was only inaugurated in 1923 in these premises after the building had been used for other purposes during the 1914-18 war.