I should admit upfront that I doubt I could love this endeavor more. My eXXXtreme Hermès fangirlness duly dislosed, the idea of using the offcuts and rejects from the "Grand H" line makes oh-so-much sense. After all, the fabrics they use are unparalleled and their standards exacting. Each of their coveted bags is painstakingly handmade from a flawless piece of leather - and only from the smoothest and most perfect part. Everything else is barred from being used in production.
In producing anything worthy of the Hermès name, their workshops produce a steady stream of leather and silk trimmings from the cutting tables, croc skins with less than perfectly aligned scales, even crystal containing tiny air bubbles considered flawed. And yet, these very "flaws" definitely have a charm of their own. Just ask Pascale Mussard. “From my childhood, I have always felt that it is impossible to throw away what is beautiful," says the great-great-great-granddaughter of saddlemaker Thierry Hermès. "I believe that you are obliged to take care of what is given to you, especially a material that has been so carefully chosen." (image)
As artistic director of Petit h, the brand's quirky, upcycling-centric offshoot, Mussard oversees the transformation of the brand's iconic scarf ends and seconds into silk sails for toy boats; an oblong fish plate from an Hermès dinner service magically morphs into a skateboard sculpture with a deck; exquisite crocodie in fuchsia and calfskin colored green become an adorable mini-roadster that holds change. There is even a menagerie of lifesize leather camels, giraffes, horses and lions. “Petit h is a way of paying tribute to Hermès,” continues Mussard. “It has only one goal—to celebrate the craftsmen, the materials, the artisans who work for us, the memories, the history.” (image)
Hermès is unquestionably - and unapologetically - a brand specializing in L-U-X-U-R-Y aimed squarely at the Supremium fashion tribe.* While they won't be receiving any PETA prizes anytime soon (after all, they breed crocs specifically for their bags), it is nice to see all these beautiful and high-quality materials being repurposed into whimsical objects rather than relegated to the trash pile. However, with prices ranging from $40 for a leather charm to $100,000 for a lifesize panda, these are without question treasures. But they are creative in a way that reminded me of how children play: a pillow becomes a fort; a horse figurine takes flight as an airborne overlord; a tin can filled with knicknacks does double-duty as a trove of priceless treasure. “Hermès," adds Mussard, "is all about stories.”
- Lesley Scott
*NOTE: IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT EACH FASHION TRIBE, START HERE.
Podcast music: Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech.com
(Petit h racecar & silk necklace images - source)