Saturday, July 25, 2009

Collection FW1997: Inros et Kimonos

I am writing this post as a tribute to a very dear friend of mine with whom I share a profound appreciation for fabrics, in general, and silk in particular, and who has become an integral part of my life. "Inrō" is a traditional Japanese case for holding small objects (traditional Japanese garments lacked pockets); they are comprised of several boxes stacked on top of each other with the help of a cord, which also serves to secure the "inrō" to the "obi" (or sash). Most types of these "sagemono" were created for specialized contents, such as tobacco, pipes, writing brush and ink, but "inrō" were suited for carrying anything small, often times identity seals and medicines.

"Kimono" is a Japanese traditional garment (the word literally means a "thing to wear", from "ki" - "to wear" - and "mono" - "thing"). Both "inrō" and "kimono" evolved over time from strictly utilitarian articles into objects of high art and immense craftsmanship.

Hermes is paying tribute, as from a master artisan to the creations of other artisans, to the artform that "inrō" and "kimono" entails and represents. This scarf is set to appeal to all admirers of Japanese art, manifested in its many forms.

The colours of this particular scarf are a little subdued, but I chose it not only because the green is yet another colour that my friend and I like and have embraced, but also because the hue allows the depicted Japanese objects to display in all of their glory. Whenever I see this design, I will think of her, and if one day I'll have the fortune of owning one, she'll be with me not only emotionally, but also in a very tangible way.

This design was created by Annie Faivre, in the service of Hermes for over 30 years (her nickname, given to her by family and close friends, is "little monkey", so over the years, she has been incorporating a little monkey in most designs - this one is the only one, to my knowledge, not to contain the monkey illustration). Living in Paris, she is now a grandmother and continues to create designs for the Maison, some of them quite impactful.