Friday, December 4, 2009

Collection 1999: Cosmos

Today's posts continues the day's "travel" theme by transporting the viewer to a totally different universe. 

Cosmos is a scarf originally released in 1966. The design, by Philippe Ledoux, was popular enough with the Hermes admirers to command subsequent re-issues, in 1991-1992 and in 1999 (and again in 2003 in 140cm cashmere/silk combination). Each series had many different colours, from the darker, more mature hues of blue, green and burgundy to other more "playful" colours. I picked the yellow colour to display the theme because I find it both different and uplifting. The four corners depict chariots reminiscent of Apollo carrying the Sun across the skies. Albeit traditional, this design is a "classic" of the Hermes collection.

A more recent reinterpretation of this scarf, in 2003 - depicted below - marks Air France's 70 years anniversary.  Note the added text around the centre image ("Air France 1933-2003), the superposed hippocampus (the company's logo, representing a mythical sea horse with two forefeet whose lower body resembles that of a fish and ending in a dolphin tail) as well as a plane underneath it.

Legende Kuna: Peuple de Panama

This scarf, by Zoe Pauwels and issued in 2002, depicts a truly magnificent illustration of stylized animals and birds, symbolic of the artform of the Kuna people - the name of an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia. The colours, reminiscent of the textiles proudly made and worn by Kuna women (famous for their techniques of appliqué and reverse appliqué of weaving) are vibrant and very warm. The design is harmoniously rich and shows beautifully when the scarf is worn.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Homage to Japan: Ginza 2001 Limited Edition

One of my favourite scarves, depicting - in my mind - the true Japanese spirit of exquisite beauty through simplicity, this limited edition is a fabulous scarf both to wear and to display in a frame. Ginza is a "quartier" (district) in Tokyo world-famous as the "shopping Mecca" of Japan. The most resonant names in retail world-wide opened shop here and have been mesmerizing consumers with their creations. Hermes is no exception: the Ginza boutique rises some eight stories high and lures admirers with a vast selection of items and choices, far beyond your "average" Hermes store. As the real estate in Japan is at a premium (and Tokyo's in particular is exorbitant), most retailers choose to develop and grow "vertically", so the shopping experience remains tremendously rich despite a rather limited footprint of the location on the ground. The sensation of a world apart (within a world apart, particularly for me, as a European living in North America) is further enhanced by the emblematic opaque glass bricks that embellish one side of the boutique and that allow a distinct sunlight to brighten every floor without any visual distractions from the outside. A definite "must" in this iconic building for anyone seeking memorable experiences.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Collection SS2007: Les Chevaux du Ciel

An absolute superb design has embellished the Shanghai boutique, as a celebration of Hermes' venture into the Far East. The design cleverly adapts the horse theme to a Chinese tradition, creating "les chevaux du Ciel" ("the heavenly horses"). As the scarf is available exclusively in China, it would be by great fortune to see one and assess it appropriately, but it appears that the richness of the background is part of the design, rather than the traditional jacquard pattern. A truly magnificent piece that enchants the eye when displayed both rolled open, and knotted.