Share on Facebook
by Christine Barnett. London, UK
Leather is the first material tamed by Hermes, and remains its most noble conquest. Over the hundred and seventy years of innovation without compromise, they’ve made the leather saddlers’ privileged, personal medium of expression, as fluent as a mothers tongue. At Hermes, a skin is what goes deepest. “Our house will never claim to have mastered leather, but it will always take the greatest pride in having studied its lessons so thoroughly.” It is by handling the finest leathers-chosen, cut, sewn and polished with expert skill-the six generations have learned and passed on the values that inspire Hermes‘ dynamism, attachment to quality, perfectionism (even in hidden details), and respect for time, all conjoined with creative verve. The exhibition explorers the relationship between Hermes and leather, weathered by wear and tested by time. It is a tale with many a twist to come. For it’s tale is inexhaustible. It is multiple and unique. Behind the fun and games, through times and testaments lies a simple, profound answer to desires which long for something of lasting value and worth; a desire so powerfully resonant in the new century.
Founded by Thiery Hermes in 1837, the Parisian fashion house was established in order to meet the needs of Parisian saddlers, and to fulfill their equestrian needs. Hermes’ first client, all those years ago was a horse. It certainly is not it’s last client, but the most faithful of all. Since then, a long established reputation among other goods and custom made object d’arts have followed, the harnesses and saddles, have been outnumbered by other valued and loved leather items. London fashion fans have been lucky to come and sample the delicate lizard leathers and the harsh buffalo and Biscuit Sikkim calfskin. My favourite has to be Troika calfskin, which pays homage to the great Russian traditions. The exhibition pays tribute to the history of the company through six generations of artisan crafts; through the same skill and dedication since the business began. On display were open workshops with ladies stitching signature Birkin’s and Kelly’s, while the rooms were filled with artifacts of coin a papier portofolio made for Arnaud Salacrou, French dramatist, as well as spanning the history of the company and presenting products from those commissioned by the Duke of Windsor up to the present day. Through the sands of time and, in our case, literally through the rooms filled with sand to exaggerate and tease your senses to imagine the voyages and the horse back trips you can take in the comfort of Hermes leather accessories, with the music and the beauty of atmosphere we were left thinking reality is after all sublime. My favourites were the Jige Elan clutch and smooth crocodile porosus and the lanara smooth lizard bay boots and saddle. ”Time is our ally. A friend eager to help, who sees us at our best and gently murmurs: You have lived, for you have memories: see these handsomely framed photos. You will live for you have plans, noted by hand in this diary in your colour. You are alive for at this moment, as you observe the dial of this watch, you are more present than ever.” Those, which are inspired by the leather goods on show and the history, which filters through every pore of every square centimeter of leather, could end up taking home a little piece of the Leather Forever Hermes exhibition. For Hermes, has designed four unique pieces paying homage to Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland, to celebrate the exhibition, which take the United Kingdom as their theme, with all proceeds going towards the Royal Academy of Arts. After, all ”an apple a day is your time honoured away and you dream of a special holder for your favourite fruit wherever you go? Other desires?” Hermes. The name and address for all your needs.