Writing about style, design and all things that catch my eye!

Perfectly imperfect and casually luxe; these are a few of my favorite things.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Hermès Festival des Métiers, WOW!

When a day takes you by surprise and you are left with an unexpected affection for the basic foundation of an entire company, then you know that you should have left the house much earlier so as to have both seen and heard more from the expert craftspeople who travelled here from France. The basis of the The Hermès Festival des Métiers (Festival of Crafts) traveling tour is focused on showing the world the dedication that they give to offering us the ultimate quality from the hands of their expert artisans. This show is to honor them.
As a bit of background, I am a woman who strongly believes in the long term use of many items in my own closet. I still wear the same tiny diamond earrings that I received as a gift when I completed 8th grade, the same long, black cashmere coat I picked when I was 15 (it's probably from the mid '50s), the same Louis Vuitton backback that was gifted to me nearly 12 years ago; and on, and on, and on. My visit to The Bravern was suggested by my friend Stephanie, and I have to say a big Thank You! This exhibit is so great that her own sister and young niece were back there again today. 
Here's a photo montage of what I saw (at the bottom are the diamonds and more text). What I like the most is the old fashioned attention to detail that is all done by hand.

They create their own natural dyes and farm their own silk.

Henri has worked for Hermes over 30 years (since he was 14). 
The first screen is the black outlines- there are 7-10(?)  more coming!

Nearly complete.

From here, they would dry, have "something" put on them, + a hand sewn edge.

Look at the carpet created for the exhibit, and the strips of unsellable scarves.

Gorgeous pinks and reds...

Greens, blues, purples...

She creates the multiple layers of sheets needed to create the individual silk screens. 

The large cuff bracelet is white gold, and later, the diamond pyramids are attached.

It takes her 17 hours to hand set the diamonds into one pyramid.

Arriving at 1:20, I peeked at the gloves that were being handmade, saw a watchmaker (originally from Switzerland) making watches, glanced over at the large crowd trying on leather hats near the saddle. There was also a stunning turquoise purse that had been crafted, women hand stitching men's ties and shirts... That's when the over one hour long silk screening show started though. I watched it all and learned so much. Hermes is a luxury brand that doesn't cut corners anywhere. The man leading the discussion said that while a new customer may be hard to come by, it's easy to lose many customers if small defects are ever allowed. That's why most of the items created on this exhibit will not be sold.

I appreciate the lengths they go to design the best products. While such quality has an extremely high retail cost, once you see the workmanship behind each and every piece, you understand that these are items to be treasured for life--  hopefully even handed down to future generations as with the young women in the audience who were all wearing ones from their grandmother. One scarf was over 30 years old, yet looked brand new. That's something to stand behind. 


  1. Incredible! So sorry I missed it!

  2. Oooh! I'm so jealous. I really wanted to go to this!!! Great post! -Colleen

  3. Thanks for the comments, Jules & Colleen! I'm glad I used my pesky iphone as much as I did to capture what I could (leaning over people while remaining attentive)!


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