The Hermès scarf is not the work of a single individual; at each stage of its creation, talent and craftsmanship combine to create a work of art.
The Herme`s scarf is a style icon worn by royalty and celebrities, coveted and admired. Since the first scarf made its debut in 1937, the House of Herme`s has produced more than two thousand different designs. From the classic scarves that embody the Herme`s tradition to the wildly imaginative stylings of contemporary designers, the House is always forging new paths and yet is never afraid to take a fresh and often witty approach to its own heritage.
The Hermès Fall 2015 collection ranges from the equestrian themes that are internationally associated with the Herme`s brand, through French history and to the natural world, to global cultures.
Jean-Louis Clerc was born in Neufchatel, Switzerland, in 1908. He studied architecture and fine art in Zurich, Geneva and finally Stockholm, developing his characteristic graphic style: a fine, lively line with delicate touches of color, earning a string of prestigious clients for his distinctive illustrations. A lover of horses, and a keen racing enthusiast, he published several equestrian-themed books including Le Prestige du cheval. A meeting with Robert Dumas in 1950 led to a dozen designs for Hermès scarves, including Paddock, a lively evocation of that favorite meeting-place of racehorses and their owners, jockeys, elegant ladies and punters, before the beginning of each race. A thicket of top-hats, broad-brimmed ladies’ hats and jockeys’ silk caps… Captured here with such immediacy, we might almost hear the hubbub of conversation.
The Faune Lettree
The subject is a firm favourite with the Hermès designers, the creators of a host of imaginative alphabets over the years. Florence Manlik presents her own interpretation here: a characteristically imaginative animal alphabet whose cast of creatures is drawn with a light, delicate touch. Each poses in his own way, gracefully complying with the demands of the metamorphosis that will make him a worthy component of this Faune lettrée. Grace and wit are the watchwords: the fennec fox’s endlessly elongated ears form a letter V; a couple of curvacious bears perform paw-stands face-to-face, forming the letter M; a convex shrimp converses with a squirrel, each playing its part in the letter D. A fitting tribute to the extraordinary character of each of the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, combining to express intimate thoughts, transmit knowledge, communicate a host of languages, and engender multiple metamorphoses whose messages are capable of changing the world. Design by Florence Manlik
The Flamingo Party
Pink flamingos, those huge, strangely beautiful birds, throw themselves once a year into a lengthy nuptial parade that sees them pair off, two by two… until next year. Flaunting their long, extraordinarily supple, graceful necks, their aristocratic bearing, their carefully preened wings, males and females take stock, brushing past one another, scrutinising their potential partners for hours on end. Surrounded by palms, orange trees and tropical flowers, their wings unfurled, in a frenzied tête-à-tête, the two birds pictured here are a celebration of their native Florida. America’s south-easternmost State is home to the celebrated Everglades national park, the habitat for a host of species including alligators, cougars, lynx, manatees and flamingos.
The Balade en Berline
Hermès has long enjoyed a special relationship with France’s Musée National de la Voiture et du Tourisme, in Compiègne. Dating from the early 18th century, the Berlin carriage depicted here is one of the museum’s great masterpieces, inspiring Wlodek Kaminski to create a scarf revisited in this magically cropped design. Forced into a hasty getaway from Madrid in 1808, the Spanish King Ferdinand VII and his retinue chose this solidly-built vehicle rather than a lightweight, ceremonial carriage. Surprised by its ‘utterly Gothic’ appearance, the Prince de Talleyrand (the exiled King’s host at the Château de Valançay) wrote: ‘this obsolescent form had about it something of the obsolescence of monarchy itself.’ But the carriage’s epic journey didn’t end there. Abandoned after Ferdinand’s departure, it languished at Valançay until the early 20th century, when it caught the eye of an antiques dealer, and finally a garage-owner. It was examined by the Musée de la Voiture’s Board of Friends (including Mr. Hermès himself) in 1936, but was judged too expensive, and was finally acquired for the French national collections in 1951.
The Sieste au Paradis
The calanques are a natural wonder of the Mediterranean: narrow, sheer-sided inlets framed by dazzling white cliffs hewn from the coastal limestone, dropping straight down to the surface of the water. Some of the best-known are found in southern France, between Cassis and Marseille, forming the Calanques National Park. The climate is arid, but the sea is surprisingly cool, fed by freshwater springs filtering underground. For Aline Honoré, the Calanque d’En-Vau is paradise on earth. Her design portrays a wild, unfrequented natural scene. The twisted forms of Aleppo pines cling to the rugged rocks, while the sea yields treasures untold, placed like offerings at the scarf’s edge: shells, sea fans, corals, starfish and anemones.
The ‘In The Pocket’
The contents of a pocket, a drawer, a bag… So many small things, forgotten, but impossible to throw away. Each in its own humble way a fragment of life, a bundle of memories, the scrap of a story. Leigh Cooke’s delicate, fragile drawing conveys their essential poetry. An ivy leaf, a pencil stub, a clothes peg, a piece of string… a coin purse, a sea-shell, a coil of wire, a watercolour tube… This carré repays close attention, with a collector’s eye for detail, like Émile Hermès from early childhood and throughout his life, assembling his remarkable collection of objects, shaped by his passions and absorbing interests. A mindset reflected in the delightful inventory assembled here.
The À l’Ombre des Boulevards
The ‘Grands Boulevards’ are without doubt the ultimate symbol of Parisian life, perfectly captured in song by the great Yves Montand (‘I love to stroll the Grands Boulevards, so many things, so much to see…’). In just a few words, the French lyrics convey the essential spirit of the flâneurs strolling these broad, tree-lined thoroughfares. Following the line of the city’s defensive wall, originally traced and built in the 14th century, the broad avenues were created some four hundred years later, in the reign of Louis XIV, and gradually became important attractions in their own right, lined with showhouses spawning a popular theatrical genre, the ‘théâtre de boulevard’. In 1895, the world’s first cinema screening took place on the Boulevard des Capucines. The famous cafés became meeting places for intellectuals, writers and poets. It was here, just a stone’s throw from the Madeleine church, on Rue Basse-du-Rempart, that Thierry Hermès open his harness and saddlery shop, in 1837. Virgine Jamin’s delicate line connects Paris past and present: horse-drawn carriages and cars, elegant ladies in their promenade finery, young girls in miniskirts, gentlemen and skateboarders cross paths as if time itself ceased to exist. For what does the flâneur do, if not forget the existence of time?
Dessine-moi un carré: a pretty title for a competition. In 2013, Hermès organized a workshop in association with ENSAD (France’s École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs) in Paris. Students were immersed in the life of the house of Hermès and introduced to this year’s theme: la flânerie, that deliciously French art of strolling, aimless yet eager and aware, open to whatever comes your way. A concept evoked to perfection in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s autobiographical Confessions: ‘J’aime à m’occuper de faire des riens… I love to busy myself with nothing at all, to begin a hundred things at once and finish none, to come and go as the mood takes me, to change my plans at each and every moment, to track the haste and bustle of a passing fly, to heave a rock from the soil, merely to see what lies beneath…’ Three winning designs were selected in January 2014, including this playful, spirited, highly original scarf by Flavia Zorilla Drago: a spiraling dance of words and imaginative figures.