Saturday, February 28, 2015

Collection SS2015: Le Jardin de Monsieur Li

This is the first time that I write about a cologne, but this is too significant of an event to ignore.  The latest cologne in the "Gardens" collection is also Hermes' last - and that's because the House perfumer, the revered Jean-Claude Ellena, will be retiring.

Indeed, you can think of this as his "swan song".  

Scheduled to launch in North America in March 2015, this is already available in France and has been received very very well - "le Jardin de M. Li" is a perfume of Chinese fragrances between reality and fantasy.

Here's a snippet from the review on the Perfume Shrine: 

"The final chapter in the Jardin fragrance series by the historical house of Hermes is inspired by a garden redolent of in house perfumer Jean Claude Ellena's favorite flower: jasmine. The flower he grew up with (Jean Claude was taken as a child alongside the family, working with the workers, for the dawn picking of the lush white blossoms which smelled halfway between flower and flesh, as he recalls in his Journal d'un Parfumeur/Diary of a Perfumer).

The inclusion of the unusual note of kumquat, a small citrus fruit with a rich scent favoured for the preparation of a special liqueur on the island of Corfu, recalls the fruity hesperidic note in Colette 1873 by Histoires de Parfums.

The name, Le Jardin de Monsieur Li, is of course recalling a garden fantasy, as previous editions in the series did: the plate of figs offered in a garden in North Africa as translated into Un Jardin en Mediterannee (2003), the green mango and sycomore trees in Assouan, Egypt, in Un Jardin sur le Nil (2005), the monsoon in Kerala, India in Un Jardin apres la Mousson (2008), and the actual garden atop the Hermes headquarters which provided vegetables for the Dumas family during WWII in Un Jardin sur le Toit (2011).

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Collection SS2015: Cheval Mirage

Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful !!!  A series of H's change directions often to depict - and also hide - the majestic head of a horse.

The very picture of metamorphosis: this delicate, trembling cloud, this mist in motion, is in fact a horse’s head, glimpsed fleetingly, vanishing as we approach to take a closer look, reappearing as we step back.  Framed by halters, the animal seems released: the straps encircle the empty air, a reflection, a mirage of the creature itself. No doubt about it, this carrĂ© is a symbol of freedom. 

And as Dimitri Rybaltchenko suggests when talking about his design, his original idea was to realize a dream we’ve all shared, at one time or another: to catch a passing cloud in our lasso. 

Of interest is that the colour palette in which this design is being offered there's a very similar scarf as the one above, yet in softer colours.

Pay attention to the horse while reaching for the stars !!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Collection SS2015: Cavaliers de Caucase

Poised between East and West, and between the Caspian and Black Seas, a chain of mountains extends for over 1,200 kilometres: the Caucasus, source of many ancient myths, like that of Prometheus, the fire-stealer punished by Zeus, king of all the gods. Life is harsh in this landscape of tall peaks, deep valleys, forests and barren wilderness, with one of the most diverse populations on Earth. In the north, where Mount Elbrus rises to a height of 5,642 metres – the tallest peak in the Caucasus, Russia, and the whole of Europe – the republic of Karbardino-Balkaria is home to the Circassians, noted for their fine looks, fierce pride and courage. 

Women hold a place of honour in this matriarchal society. In the past, richly-attired men and women would ride out together on the region’s Kabarda horses, bred for their robust strength, agility and endurance: long tunics for the men, open-fronted dresses over richly-embroidered blouses for the women, each man bearing his silver powder-casket, each woman her finely-engraved dagger… Annie Faivre’s carrĂ© is a richly decorative tribute to their culture, strewn with embroidered fabrics, objects and jewellery.

This scarf reminds me of "la femmes aux semelles de vent" - a juxtaposition of folkloric elements that define the local culture and also speak of adventures in far-away lands.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Collection SS2015: In the Pocket

One of my most favourite designs ever created by Hermes, In the Pocket is an invitation to a mesmerizing and full life.  Little remnants forgotten in the corners of our pockets - or possibly inside the coats as they made their way inside the lining - tell stories of attending concerts and balls, adventures and attempts at building or fixing many objects in our lives.  Looking back, I smile at the great times, remembering perhaps an outfit worn on a special occasion, my fixing a fence or even enjoying a cup of hot cocoa from a wonderful cup.

The colours are unapologetic, unlike the original edition - and this pattern remains, after all the wonderful designs I've seen still one of my all-time favourite ones...