Furniture & Decorative Arts

Hermès Artistry

NEW YORK, NY -- Founded in 1837, Hermès began as an equestrian equipment company in Paris specializing in leather saddles and bridles for European nobility. Not until their Centennial did the company beginning creating their famed carrés or silk scarves. Hermès scarves represent luxury, versatility, portability, and creativity.

Although ancient Roman soldiers wore scarves as protection under their armor, the long history of scarves as aesthetic decoration allegedly stemmed from Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, who wore a scarf under her headdress. Hermès scarves offer endless possibilities for their use. Lightweight and striking, the scarves can be tied around one’s neck or even around the straps of a bag. They can be framed as a wall decoration, or collected for their varied designs.

The first Hermès scarf was created in 1937, presenting a departure from the company’s typical product and marked a new journey into color. The design was titled Jeu Des Omnibus et Dames Blanches, and the theme was an 1800s board game from Émile Hèrmes’ personal collection. Since the first scarf, Hermès has produced over 2,000 designs, with the goal of thirty new designs a season. Several re-editions of previous scarves are also reproduced each year, printed in new vibrant color combinations. Over 75,000 colors are held in Hermès’ records.

The process of making these silk luxury scarves involves the silk of 250 mulberry moth cocoons and hundreds of hours, that is, after a design has been finalized. Roughly fifty individual freelance designers, sought out by Hermès from around the world, create the designs themselves. It takes approximately 19 months to produce a scarf design. Several months are spent on determining each scarf’s color, with the average number of colors per scarf typically reaching twenty-seven. The highest number of colors incorporated into an individual scarf is forty-eight or forty-nine. Once the design and color combination have been approved, they are sent to Hermès' silk scarf workshops in Lyon and printed on Brazilian silk using vegetable dyes. The scarves are then cut from the cloth and hand-rolled with small stitches at the edges.

The wide assortment of designs range from celebratory limited editions to re-editions of beloved favorites chosen from Hermès’ archives. Carré patterns and designs also inspire the firm’s other departments, permeating Hermès’ clothing, accessories, and housewares. Scarves are kept in Hermès’ current inventory until they are sold out, which increases the anticipation of each design due to its finite quantity.

The Estate of Barbara Cook

Doyle is pleased to offer a collection of Hermès scarves from the estate of famed Broadway actress and singer Barbara Cook. The collection comprises lots 700 through 708 in the sale of Fine Jewelry on Wednesday February 21, 2018.  View Lots & Place Bids ►

Portrait of specialist Leigh Kendrick
Client Relationship Manager
Furniture & Decorative Arts
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