Saturday, December 11, 2010

Au Fil de la Soie

For my Birthday I got treated with something as spectacular as the Hermes silk scarves: a cologne named "Poivre Samarcande", part of the Hermessence collection.  So I'd like to seize this opportunity not only to express my excitement, but also to reflect on the distances that merchants continue to cover in their relentless drive to bring customers the best the world has to offer.

The story of the "Poivre Samarcande" ("Samarcand Pepper") is equally fascinating and stirring.  Samarkand is a city in Uzbekistan that provided the spice traders with a place to rest before continuing their long journeys to seek and acquire spices - hence, the city's location along the spice road made it well known.  The peppery scent captured in the fragrance is thus both a reference and a tribute to the place that became so critical in the history of humanity.

While the scarf is also a tribute to the silk road, "Au fil de la soie" ("on the silk thread") reminded me of the journeys undertaken by so many merchants, traders and curious alike, who - unbeknownst to them - were such an integral part of the world's - and humankind's - history.  The scarf depicts several scenes associated with the silk trade - of harvesting the silk, of transporting it, of processing it, and finally of turning it into spectacular elements of clothing, so delicate, so luxurious and so refined.

A great design, launched in 1995, by one of the most admired and prolific designers - Annie Faivre.  Just as the fragrance name carries my mind and my imagination to the spice trade and long road the spices travel to us, so is this scarf makes me reflect on the long journey of the silk, meant to be admired, enjoyed and treasured by a privileged few.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Les Ballets Russes

I am absolutely ecstatic to say that I managed to acquire tickets to the Mariinsky Ballet troupe's performance of the Swan Lake, scheduled for the beginning of March 2011 in Toronto (this is a treat I allowed myself for my upcoming birthday).   The Mariinsky Ballet is a classic ballet company company based at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint-Petersburg, Russia.  Founded in the 18th century and originally known as the Imperial Russian Ballet, the Mariinsky Ballet is one of the world's leading ballet companies. Internationally, the Mariinsky Ballet is most commonly known by its former Soviet name the Kirov Ballet, a title which is still used by the company when touring.  So you can imagine my excitement at the prospect of seeing the leading ballet company in the world in Toronto.

While "Les Ballets Russes" ("Russian Ballets") is a tribute to the artistic grace that this specific troupe elevated to the level of sublime through their performances (the best known dancer was Anna Pavlova, renowned the world over).  So I couldn't think of a better scarf design to express my own enthusiasm and pay tribute, in my own modest way, to the joy that ballet, as an art form, brings me.

It is a spectacular scarf, rich in meaning and - delightfully - energetic.  It manages to capture our imagination in a very harmonious way, captivating us with the stories the dancers are conveying strictly through body movement.  Indeed, graceful would be the only way to describe their art of communication.

This scarf ties truly wonderfully, and is a joy to wear for anyone with an appreciation for dancers, in general, and ballet performers, in particular.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Collection SS2010: Brazil

Last week I spoke about embellishments, so I thought it appropriate for this post to explore teh theme fo ornaments, the many objects we make a part of our own to enhance a certain trait (such as our eyes or lips), or as a wardrobe accessory – all for the purpose of to enhancing our appearance and embellishing our look.

The focal point of this scarf is the "dress”, made exclusively of natural feathers, used by native Amazon Indians as an item of clothing.  Depicted in the each of the corners of the scarf is a matching tiara, a head crown of feathers that complete the costumes.  And speaking of costumes, these elements have been highly employed in the Rio Carnival, touted as the biggest on Earth, where countless costumes are featured annually, as a reflection of the native Indians’ cultures.

First released as part of the FW1988 collection, it was reissued in 1991, 1999, 2000, 2006 (in gavroche size, depicted above) and again in 2009.  Of interest is the reissue of this design as a detail of the original (depicted below), in 2001 and again in 2010 (in the gavroche and 140cm silk mousseline sizes).

This scarf ties beautifully and invites the admirer to discover its story and its history.