November 21, 2009

How to Tie an Hermès Scarf

To me, there’s nothing better than sitting, sipping coffee and surfing the internet looking for interesting articles (unless it was having coffee with my housemate in Wales, tossing sections of the still brilliant UK Sunday papers back and forth, and eating fresh croissants).

I stumbled across this article in the Guardian (UK) this morning and thought I’d share it with you, along with the beautiful images that were linked. The first Hermès scarf appeared in 1937 and there have been 2,000 different designs since then.

Many designers strive to close the gap between fashion and art, but few succeed. With the creation of its famous scarf in 1937, the House of Hermès invented wearable art at one brilliantly simple stroke.Hermes-scarf-002 Develop the finest screen-printing techniques possible, cultivate a stable of the most talented graphic designers and textile artists, Hermes-scarf-012 unleash a riot of creativity and colour laced with motifs drawn from history, mythology, flora, fauna, war, peace, global culture and (but of course) the realm of the horse, et voilà!Hermes-scarf-003 You have the most desirable, iconic and grown-up 36 square inches of silk in fashion. All this can be yours, by the way, for £228 to around £500.Hermes-scarf-004The carré has been beloved by elegant celebrity: Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Onassis, Grace Kelly and Catherine Deneuve were collectors, and in the 50s the Queen wore one on a postage stamp (1972's Regina returned the favour with a floral homage). And no feeling person could browse the ravishing pages of The Hermès Scarf: History And Mystique (Thames & Hudson, £60) without wanting one.Hermes-scarf-005But how the deuce does one tie the thing? While the French might fashion it effortlessly into a jaunty neckerchief (cf Romy Schneider), British women of a certain class are more likely to fasten it securely under the chin in preparation for challenging outdoor activity (cf Her Maj).

Hermes-scarf-011 Hermes-scarf-0110

At the pop-up Hermès store in Liberty last month, fashionistas queued up to learn the correct (chic not mumsy) way to do it. But you may decide simply to refer to 2005's meta-scarf, La Femme au Carré.Hermes-scarf-001It is all beautifully French and philosophical, but more to the point it demonstrates la méthode. Add a little black dress, collarbones to die for, a slash of red lipstick and, mama, you will own that Hermès.Hermes-scarf-010How many Hermès scarves do you own?

16 comments:

  1. Well.....I would be most happy if I were fortunate enough to own a mere ONE !! However, I am still quite happy to admire them from afar!
    ~ Michelle

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  2. I love them. Got my first one in 1993 on a trip to Italy and I've been addicted since then. Not sure how many I have - maybe 6 or 7. I'm looking forward to inheriting the 50+ my mother has collected over the years.

    Since the prices went up it's hard to justify buying them even though they are gorgeous and I want them all.

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  3. Meg, you aren't going to believe this, but I was given one for free at an event at the French Embassy and then blithely gave it away. It was part of a favor given to patrons at the Washington Opera Ball in June 2003, not long after the U.S. had invaded Iraq -- you remember all that nonsense about "freedom fries" and not buying French wine, etc. -- and the scarf was bluntly patriotic. It was actually rather ugly. So I just handed it off to a girlfriend to give to her daughter to play with.

    I guess it was stupid of me; I could've probably sold it on eBay. But anyway. I'd love to have one of the beautiful, artistic, iconic Hermès scarves, just not that one.

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  4. I own two, and probably won't buy another. Though I love the ones i have, the price is now astronomical. I wear then the traditional way, in a triangle tied at the neck. Their texture is so sumptuous that they never gain a crease, save the ones they originally bear. They are so beautiful that I have seen them framed like art. i would be loathe to let them fade in the harsh light of the sun.

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  5. Love, love, love Hermes. I am a fan of the classic shape and also the Twilly- perfect for adding just the right touch to a handbag.

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  6. I have six. I love them and want more. I still have a little booklet Hermes gave me with one of them (Shangles?) that has different scarf tie methods. Of course, being Hermes, the booklet is printed beautifully.

    I have worn them as a support for a sore arm...in a hurricane: those scarves can withstand anything. I'm not sure which is my favorite. Maybe the Carpe Diem (mine has the royal blue border.) Maybe the Zodiac (black border, and Jackie O had this one as well.) I do know when I wear Hermes, people invariably ask me to unfurl them. The layers of color, the prints, the technique...incomparable.

    I don't wear my head scarves QE style but rather Grace Kelly in "To Catch A Thief" where I knot at back of my neck. Think open sports car-Riviera.

    Oddly enough, I did wear the Zodiac once in Baltimore at an outdoor music festival in the pouring rain, and I showed up with it tied like Queen Elizabeth in a long raincoat and Wellingtons. Odd woman out--definitely.

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  7. I own one - and hope to add to my collection. I have an aversion to umbrellas - and when it is merely misting - tie it on Jackie Style and dash about Manhattan! Of course I'm dashing to the subway instead of a town car - but hey - I girls got to save pennies here so I can spend them there (@ Hermes of course).

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  8. Ok, I still have NO IDEA how to tie a Hermes scarf. Funnily enough, I was in Liberty in October and they were doing a scarf tying clinic . . . but I didn't have time to check it out. I did have to time to make an impulse purchase, though: a stripey cashmere scarf.

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  9. I am lucky to have one - which was a gift from my sister in law, who got it as a gift but didn't like it... she never wore it so I asked if I could buy it and she gave it to me!!! I love it! I am a huge fan of Hermes but sadly cannot afford any of it - I still have hopes to one day own a 35cm Birkin or a 35cm soft Kelly... :-)

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  10. One only however what a special gift any one of them would make. I adore scarves. True works of art!

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  11. sophie dahy designsNovember 22, 2009 at 9:48 AM

    I have several that I bought years ago but really don't wear them very often anymore. I need to get them out again along with the little booklets showing how to tie them.

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  12. I have currently own five and periodicaly stalk the elusive Paddock print on ebay with hopes of making it my sixth...XXOO

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  13. I used to buy one for LFG's mom every time I traveled to Europe on biz.

    We were in Paris on our honeymoon and I left her in Hermes alone for twenty minutes-breathtakingly expensive little unaccompanied time interval.

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  14. I own two and adore them, even though I don't wear them that often. When I do, the feeling is incomparable. They immediately raise my spirits! I bought them for myself using birthday gift money and plan to do the same next year. As the lovely saleswoman at Hermes said to me in an equally lovely French accent,"you will not pick the scarf. The scarf will pick you." My favorit way to tie the scarves is to fold them in the "classic Hermes fold" which is to fold opposite corners to the center with a bit of an overlap, fold the long edges toward the center until they meet, and then fold in half once again. From here you can do endless things with it. I have worn it like a man's tie and just tied loosely in front. But my favorite way is to start at the front of my neck, wrap around the back and then tie a square knot at the front. You get the look of a turtle neck, which I like, and it feels great on your skin. I recommend you save and buy at least one of these treasures for yourself. You won't regret it!

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  15. What a fun post on one of my favorite items! Ironically, you have one of my scarves featured: Springs. I have it in red. Classic and timeless--and always appropriate. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  16. My first Hermes was the black "Srpings" pictured above. It was quite a jump, as a man, to make this purchase, but I wanted to do the ascot look, but not in the frumpy pre-cut ascot style. And I was hooked. I won't hazard to say how many more I purchased, both at Hermes and on eBay...and I've sold many of them, too. A life's luxury I guess, when you drive a 10 yr old car with 150,000 miles...ha!

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