Saturday, May 7, 2011

Collection SS2006: Chemins de Garrigue

I caught wind of the upcoming scarf designs, so as we're waiting to admire - and feel - the actual scarves in the boutiques, I thought of paying hommage to the talented artist Christine Henry, whose newest creation will be featured as part of the Fall/Winter 2011 collection (this is in addition to the "Nuées imaginaires" - "Imaginary Clouds" - from earlier this year).  

This prolific artist is recognized for her intricate designs that reflect snapshots of both ordinary and extraordinary life, illustrated in a manner that makes you feel as if you hold an entire miniature universe in your palms (or wear around your neck, for that matter).  Her "rives fertiles" ("fertile rivers"), included in Hermes' "water"-themed 2005 collection, caught my attention in a profound way, turning her into one of my favourite drawing artists.  The fascinating aspect of her work, however, is that she succeeded in growing over the years, exploring various styles (as captured on the 17 designs of hers that Hermes has featured over the years) that appear quite disparate from one another.

Today's "Chemins de garrigue" ("Paths of the shrubland") has been created in the same style - a style that infuses, in addition to dynamism, a tasteful richness and spectacular elegance into this scarf that only a handful of designs can boast.  Because the scarf's "footprint" is a square, the shape itself is static.  To compensate and infuse energy into a scarf, artists use specific techniques - "tricks" known only to craftsmen and women who've mastered the trade.  One of the more obvious techniques consists of developing the designs along the square's diagonals.  An alternative technique is Christine's approach to imagine curvy paths across the landscape, rather than straight lines.  The winding paths take the explorer on a journey of discovery, inviting you to notice all the details along the way (as opposed to straight lines, where your sight is automatically drawn towards the point terminus of the "journey" and therefore presenting you with the risk of missing everything else surrounding the path).

The inspiration behind this scarf springs from the calcareous plateaus of the Mediterranean shores - the "garrigue" - punctuated by dense thickets of kermes oak,  juniper and stunted holm oak.  Aromatic lime-tolerant shrubs such as lavender, sage, rosemary, wild thyme and Artemisia are common plants of the garrigue landscape.  Calling this shrubland home are sheep, donkeys, rabbits, reptiles and snails alike - examples of which are graciously captured on canvas.

What's interesting is that Hermes' choice of colour combinations to illustrate this design - soft blue, soft pink, rich yellow and black, to name just a few - is very similar to "Nuées imaginaires" from Spring/Summer 2011.

This scarf is not only beautiful, it is utterly elegant, promising a great many heads turning to admire both it and the person sporting it ! 

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