Saturday, May 30, 2015

Collection SS2015: Les Leopards

Talented draughtswoman Christiane Vauzelles began collaborating with Robert Dumas in 1958. Carrés like Tourbillon, Pivoines and Tigre royal testify to her technical mastery and fine sense of composition.  Originally destined for a beach towel, these charming cheetahs, drawn in 1967, are presented as a carré for the first time. 

The delicate, graphic, somewhat naïve drawing, the young cats’ cheery expressions, and the simple, effective use of line are reminiscent of a Roman mosaic.  The creatures are conjured before our eyes, palpably alive, ready to pounce into the graceful rough-and-tumble of a game, as only they know how.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Collection SS2015: Ciels Byzantins (reissue)

This is a reissue from 1997's Ciels Byzantins ("Byzantin Skyes").  No longer on jacquard silk, the new colours are wonderful !

Europe’s first Christian hermits took refuge in northern Greece, at the foot of Mount Athos. The Cenobites followed soon after, and in 963 CE, Saint Athanasius of Alexandria founded the monastery of Great Lavra. Numerous other monasteries followed, and the ‘Holy Mountain’ became the spiritual centre of Orthodox Christianity. 

On the Aegean island of Patmos, Saint John the Evangelist wrote his book of Revelations (the Apocalypse), in the 1st century CE. 

And later, in the Egyptian desert, the fortified monastery of St Catherine was built at the foot of Mount Sinaï. 

These three high places of Orthodox Christianity are home to rich collections of priceless illuminated manuscripts. Inspired by the decorations preceding the texts of the early Christian Gospels, this carré offers an anthology of exquisitely refined motifs.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Collection SS2015: Le Voyage de Pythéas

In the sixth century BC, in the narrow inlet known as Lacydon, the Phoenicians founded their first colony, Massalia – the modern city of Marseille. 

The Greek Pytheas – a contemporary of Alexander the Great and Aristotle – was born there two hundred years later. Eager for new discoveries, he managed to convince the city assembly to finance an extraordinary journey, taking him far beyond the Mediterranean world to the unexplored seas of the far north, in search of amber and pewter. 

His itinerary established him as one of Europe's first explorers, bringing home a fascinating account of his adventures, of which only a few fragments have come down to us today, quoted by classical authors like Ptolemy. 

Pytheas writes of the influence of the moon over the tides, of methods of calculating the Earth's tilt and the latitudes of distant lands, of the mores and customs of the Celts and Goths, of the dimensions of the British Isles... 

Mocked by his contemporaries, his words gradually received the attention they deserve, over the centuries: dismissed as fantastical in his day, they came to seem credible, and were ultimately, largely proven by fact. His incredible journey, reproduced here on silk, is a tribute to the man and his home city of Marseille.

Reminiscent of "La Femme aux Semelles de Vent" (by the same designer, Aline Honoré) when displayed and of "Le Monde est vaste" when knotted, this is an elegant and intriguing patter that's sure to become a discussion topic very quickly.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Collection SS2015: Paddock

Jean-Louis Clerc was born in Neuchatel, Switzerland, in 1908.  He studied architecture and fine art in Zurich, Geneva and finally Stockholm, developing his characteristic graphic style: a fine, lively line with delicate touches of color, earning a string of prestigious clients for his distinctive illustrations.  A lover of horses, and a keen racing enthusiast, he published several equestrian-themed books including "Le Prestige du cheval". 

A meeting with Robert Dumas in 1950 led to a dozen designs for Hermès scarves, including Soirée de Gala and Paddock, a lively evocation of that favorite meeting-place of racehorses and their owners, jockeys, elegant ladies and punters, before the beginning of each race.  A thicket of top-hats, broad-brimmed ladies’ hats and jockeys’ silk caps… Captured here with such immediacy, we might almost hear the hubbub of conversation.