I am very excitedly welcoming the new Fall/Winter 2010 collection of Hermès scarves, just as the peony flowers have recently blossomed in Toronto.
The focus of today's post is "Quand Soudain" ("when suddenly"), a set of four instantanés ("snapshots") from Paris, depicting the Montmartre hill (with its highly recognizable symbol, the Sacré Coeur cathedral, the House's iconic flagship store and head office at 24, rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré, a close-up of a horse's head, a depiction suggestive of the equally iconic horse atop the House's building, and finally a horse in apparent flight.
What I find fascinating is the style of the story line, as told through images - reminiscent of the cartoons so beloved by children. I grew up with several -old- issues of the Pif Vaillant and Arthur (le fantome) magazines (back in the days, Romania was under Communist regime, so those issues must have belonged to other generations from another era), French comic strips (bandes dessinees) with lovely characters such as dog called Pif, and a fantome (Arthur) and their adventures both at home at on foreign lands, during their travels. The captions on this series of images, starting from the upper left hand corner and descending diagonally across, read - just like a comic strip text - "at the same time, in Paris, all was calme", followed by "when, suddenly" and "to be continued".
Although the approach of dividing up the overall scarf space into strips of different pictures is not new, this scarf is particularly charming because it contains so many references to Paris and to Hermès, which - themselves - trigger a certain fascination and instill in the admirers a desire to pack their bags and head to the Capital of Lights to enjoy its refinement. One reason I recognize such an effect of this particular design lies in its depiction of photo-like images, rather than partial pictures of previously released designs (of course, the air of nostalgia triggered by looking at those images, drawings replicating the real world, just like a children's comic strip, only adds to the scarf's beauty).
Disappointingly, the scarf does not pay necessary tribute to its design when knotted. The majesty is the design is simply lost, appearing simply as unidentifiable colour "stains", perhaps appropriately and skillfully achieved as a "vintage" scarf.