I recently had the good fortune of seeing samples of the new 2011 Spring/Summer collection and I must confess, I felt quite disappointed by the designs. As word has it, the collection is a tribute to the "artisans", the talented creators in the service of Hermes behind the art so dear to our hearts. I also like to think that the "year of the artisan" is an homage to all creators, of all walks of life, whose passions for the objects they give shape to, coupled with their relentless search for excellence, infuse life into their creations, which, in their turn, take our breaths away. So while the designs are short of spectacular, they serve as a reminder of the struggle that artisans (designers, craftspeople, experts and specialists alike) overcome in their creative process, sometimes with mixed results; yet, such results are necessary for the creators' self-improvement. And let's not lose sight of the creativity that nevertheless went into these designs, the constant commitment to impeccable creations, and the paramount effort dedicated to the vision. I anticipate to reveal some of these designs (starting with the one that marked me the most, entitled "Reve du corail" - "Coral Dream") shortly.
Before I embark on that journey, however, two more scarf designs came to mind, to reflect the recent experiences I had. Today's post will focus on the rose, the magnificent flower known the world over, whose beauty mesmerizes us: the richness of the petals enchants us, the breathtaking colours fascinate us and each flower's distinct perfume intrigues us. The rose has been equally portrayed as a symbol of life's (early) struggles, allegorically used to describe both the obstacles (thorns)-filled paths one has to follow to reach an end, and one's attempts to preserve the most valuable possessions.
Yet, for all the richness of our language, It is very very difficult to write about flowers. I mean, how could we? Just as many of the natural hues can never be reproduced on fabrics, words fail to describe the intensity of our feelings when we come across a spectacular flower, when we acknowledge the long process the plant has to undergo to bloom, and when we offer (or receive) a rose as a symbol of love, attention and affection. Moreover, every flower's uniqueness represents a challenge for anyone attempting to describe flowers in general. It is only through multiple writings, collectively forming a floral mosaic, that we begin to appreciate the flowers (and roses, in particular) for what they are.
As I'm about to head to a flower market, as I normally do early on Saturday mornings to pick up a fresh bouquet in season, I was reflecting on the presence - omnipresence - of flowers in our daily lives. They accompany every major event that punctuates our existence, from birth to marriage to mourning. More, when we talk of them, the conversation of flowers is rich of symbolism (the mysterious orchid, the virgin white lily, the passionate red rose, the immaculate and delicate snowdrops). Perhaps it's our propensity to use flowers as a way to express our amazement, doubts, anxieties and passions. Flowers - whether budding, in bloom or wilting on their way to obsolescence, be they simple or sophisticated, delicate or triumphant - certainly managed to captivate us and capture our imagination since times immemorial (think only of the Dutch painters, whose masterpieces, depicting flower arrangements, or whose creations, through the use of flowers or "petal painting technique", continue to fascinate us to this day).
The rose, illustrated on this canvas, is majestic - rich with petals, fresh when sprinkled with the morning dew, the depictions give the impressions of the flowers being alive, and we find ourselves tempted to reach over to caress them. The dark roses in the lower right hand corner (violet? black?) are not only breathtaking, but also intended to balance out the roses from opposite corner, so when the scarf it knotted, it intrigues the wearer and the admirer alike. The images (particularly the loose petals) equally appeal to our olfactory sense: the scarf left me wondering what those roses smelled like, leaving me longing for savouring the rose fragrance in all its beauty. This design was first launched in 1960 and reissued, starting in late nineties, early 2000s and again in late 2000, in silk twill, cashmere/silk and mousseline.
The design is an absolute proven classic. The "bouquet" of colours will instill a traditional feel or - alternatively - a sense of adventure; for instance, the two colour combinations featured above are illustrations of a more traditional design (the first, with its hues of light blue) and of the more daring kind (the second, due to the matching of unconventional, yet beatifully harmonious, colours).