Hermès Festival des Métiers Part 1
Last Saturday, Mr. Andrew and I attended the Hermès Festival des Métiers — a touring exhibition of the company’s master craftspeople at work — at the Design Exchange. The show began about two years ago to celebrate Hermès’ 175th birthday and it’s an amazing opportunity get a broader context of the luxury house’s brand and their manufacturing process. It was an honour to get to meet the makers of iconic pieces such as the Kelly Bag and the Hermès Scarf.
We started off with the saddlemaker. Hermès roots are in the Equestrian trade. That’s why you see so much bit and tackle imagery in their scarves, bags and other decorative items.
At the glovemaker’s station, we learned that many of the masters still use traditions that go back to at least 1837, when the company was founded. Pictured above is a glovemaking contraption that looks about 175 years old.
Next, we visited the mini atelier of the gem setter. We watched as he placed and secured a tiny diamond into a pavé setting. “Only 999 more to go,” he said. “It takes about three weeks to finish.” His work would later be attached to a Collier de Chien cuff.
This post is going to have to be a two parter, simply because we saw and learned so much. At the halfway point of our tour we stopped by the tie maker’s station. She deftly pinned and then stitched the neck piece together using what she called a Boullion stitch (aka a caterpillar stitch). She also showed us some secret methods for identifying knock offs that we shouldn’t write about here lest we tip off the counterfitters.
Stay tuned for part two tomorrow!