Hermès' Festival Des Métiers 2013

Monday, 27 May 2013
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It has been a hectic but incredibly exciting week catching up with both new and old friends. In fact, Lil L and I got in our front door just before midnight after a day out with a very old friend of mine whom I've known since I was 7. There's something special about a friendship that's lasted this long. We will be back in London again later in the week to see another buddy of mine soon. Can't wait! Who knew an introvert (moi) can turn into a social butterfly when given the chance?!

After many emails and tweets back and forth, Fauxionista, Kelly and I finally met up face to face. What do 3 bag obsessed ladies do when we catch up? Yup, you've guessed right. We checked out bags or in the other words, The Rolls Royce of all bags - Hermès.  Hermès' Festival Des Métiers (or otherwise known as Rendezvous with Hermès craftspeople) is in town. And for the first time, photography wasn't banned.

This particular Lyon based artisan (1st photo) is in fact, the only craftsperson in the world that specializes in making velvet out of thick 2 ply silk scarves. Hermes originally employed the services of a couple who used to produce these handiwork to train 3 of their employees in order to ensure that the art does not die out. Two of them decided not to continue but this lady did. She now has 3 apprentices. Each piece takes anything from 4 to 7 days to make and are only available through their special order service or Ready To Wear collection.


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The young watchmaker based in Switzerland painstakingly put each minuscule piece together to create a watch. It's all done by hand with such precision. I think I appreciate my automatic Cape Code watch a lot more now.


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The jeweler was making diamond encrusted studs similar to the ones you see on the Collier de Chien cuff bracelets.


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I was enthralled by the entire process of breaking down and interpreting an artist's work in order to prepare the design for screen printing. The making of a scarf was fascinating. Every step from designing, screen printing, hemming to the final product is done by hand which requires such meticulous concentration and rigorous quality control. Nadine who had a background of hairdressing has been doing this for 30 years. The  Wa'ko-ni (an Indian princess) art piece had 40 colors and took her nearly 2000 hours to draw and separate the design into various transparent sheets.

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The tie making station


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Having visited a factory in Turkey, I wasn't exactly a stranger to the process of making ceramics. However, Hermès certainly takes it to another level using platinum paints which costs approximately €4000 for a 30ml bottle. I guess there isn't room for silly mistakes then. Did you know that they use those cute Bonne Maman jam jars for their paints?


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See that to die for Kelly 32cm retourne in Taurillon Clemence leather? It had the EXACT combination that I wanted along with the canvas strap that I'd be willing to get on my knees and beg for. Yup, I was gawking drooling stroking looking at it with such intensity that the security guard actually took a step closer to me.

The Hermès marketing ploy is brilliant. If you didn't think you'd ever want an Hermes accessory before, you'll definitely want one now. There's no way that even the most skeptical person could have walked out the door after seeing these artisans at work, to not appreciate the rare and traditional  craftsmanship that would've died out had companies like Hermes not preserve them.






16 comments:

  1. Thank you, Marlene! Thank you for sharing these gorgeous pics. I'm always so giddy when viewing evidence of the artisanal work that Hermès cultivates. It leaves me breathless. So does that new blue. I want to hunt down a piece to keep it close by whenever I need a touch of the deep blue sea.

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  2. These pictures are beautiful! I can't believe how much works goes into everything!

    xoxo
    Stacey

    Five Minute Style 

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  3. Was so nice to finally meet you in person, M! :) Thank you so much for the gifts and look forward to catching up when I return!

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    1. It was so lovely to finally catch up with you. I had a wonderful time with you and Kelly. I can't wait until you move here.

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  4. How lucky you are to have attended this event! I love Hermès for being so much about craftsmanship and it's very clever of them to open up their production process like this: you do love a luxury object more when you know that it is man-made and can see this up close.

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  5. I'm glad you got to see the Hermes exhibit - I've actually never been, believe it or not! All the Kellys you've pictured look amazing! That red one in particular (flap and handle) has such a great color. I'm also drawn to the slouchy casualness of the brown one with the canvas strap.

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  6. Amazing! Thanks for sharing an awesome behind-the-scenes of Hermes' magic :)

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  7. Wow, this is all so beautiful. I definitely have more appreciation for their pieces now that I've learned more about their behind the scenes process. Now it makes more sense why they cost so much!

    Mili from call me, Maeby

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  8. How gorgeous! I don't own anything from Hermes but I can certainly see why people are so attached to the products they make. Loved that documentary about Hermes too - very moving.

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  9. I loved this presentation and also poste about it a bit ago. It truly gave me an appreciation of the artisns and worksmanship involved in each product (e.g. 200 colors and 40+ screens can be used for 1 scarf!) It is also a great marketing presentation and makes me want the Kelly and more scarves!


    xoxo,
    Chic 'n Cheap Living

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  10. Wow what a wonderful post my dear! It must of been such a wonderful experience to see the incredible craftsmanship that go's into making the wonderful Hermès bags and scarfs. These photos are beautiful Marlene and thank you for sharing them with us :)

    Take care, I hope you had a wonderful long weekend andenjoy the rest of your week,
    Daniella xox

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  11. What a wonder to see all of this! Makes me want to bust out my scarves more often!! I see that they are now outfitting 32 Kellys and larger with canvas straps- SOOOO need this!

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  12. Beautiful photos! And count me in as another one happy about the canvas straps - I still need to order one for my Kelly and I'm not looking forward to the process or the cost!

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  13. Ohh, how lovely it is to be able to witness artisans at work! I've seen how Salvatore Ferragamo's iconic shoes are made, and have attended many Hermès events (the latest was Les Jeux d'Hermès) but never something like this where the making of bags, watches and accessories are shown under one roof!

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  14. It's lovely that you had the chance to go. I'm so happy for you. I enjoyed the Festival des Metiers so much last year. The accompanying film is really well done too. I've been to the Atelier Sacs a few times and I'm still amazed by the whole process. It really makes you appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into your things so much more.

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  15. What an interesting event...must be an eye opener.

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