On Sunday, I went to the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea to see the very interesting Hermès exhibition, Festival Des Métiers. Skilled craftspeople from the legendary French firm were there to demonstrate and explain the processes of making their beautiful objects.
As I entered, I saw a display of their iconic silk scarves in orange shades
and then in deep pinks.
The exhibition was divided into sections - one for each different craft.
Imprimeur Sur Soie (Silk Printer) was about the printing of the wonderful pictures and patterns on the silks.
The next demonstration was Confectionneur De Cravates (Tie Maker).
Then came Dessinateur (Engraver), Remailleur (Twin-Set Linker), Peintre sur Porcelaine (Porcelain Painter), Horloger (Watchmaker) and Sertisseur (Gem Setter).
Finally, at the Maroquinier (Leatherworker) table we could learn about how the famous bags were made. (Who hasn't heard of the Kelly Bag or the Birkin Bag?) There are new colours each season and we were told that currently they are pale yellow, bright red and shrimp. In the Autumn there will be a new malachite green.
The exhibition drew a large crowd of visitors and as I left the Saatchi, I reflected on how the very names Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Dior or Chanel have such an allure. It's mostly their luxurious accessories, perfumes and makeup that seem to have a magical hold on us. Perhaps this contemporary world of cheap, "fast fashion", leaves a craving for something expensive and elegant. Certainly just one of these French designer pieces, a bag perhaps or some shoes or sunglasses, (or even a lipstick or nail varnish) worn with inexpensive, casual but well chosen clothes, adds an indefinable chic.
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