Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hermes Paris Silk Scarf Kimonos et Inros

Hermès silk scarves

One of Hermès' most recognized products today is its signature silk scarves. The modern Hermès scarf measures 90 cm × 90 cm, weighs 65 grams and is woven from the silk of 250 mulberry moth cocoons. All Hermès scarves are hand-printed using multiple silk screens and the hems are all hand-stitched. Forty-three is the highest number of screens used for one scarf to date (the charity scarf released in 2006), one screen for each color on the scarf. Scarf motives are known to range from germane (the French Revolution, French Cuisine) to the unexpected (such as the flora and fauna of Texas).

However, many generally feature equestrian motifs, as well as other symbols of prestige, like coats of arms, banners, and military insignia. Two scarf collections per year are released, along with re-prints of older designs and limited editions. Since 1937, Hermès has produced over 2,500 designs, with the horse motif ones being particularly famous and popular. Production of scarves has ranged from 250,000 in 1978, to 500,000 in 1986, to 1.2 million in 1989. During the holiday season in its Paris boutiques, on average one scarf is sold every twenty seconds.

The per-pound cost of a scarf today is approximately $1,965.00 USD (compared to a pound of steel at $0.19). New scarves retail at $375 USD and still account for a significant percentage of Hermès’s turnover. Hermès also markets two collections a year of cashmere/silk blend scarves, which are priced as of Spring 2008 from $550 to $950 USD.

The company's scarves are very popular. Some find themselves even made into pillows or otherwise as framed wall-hangings. Famous lovers of the Hermès scarf include Queen Elizabeth II (who wore one in a portrait for a British postage stamp in the 1950s), Grace Kelly (who used an Hermès scarf as a sling for her broken arm), Audrey Hepburn, Catherine Deneuve, and Jacqueline Bouvier Onassis.

More recently, Sharon Stone, Sarah Jessica Parker, Hillary Clinton, Mariah Carey, Elle McPherson, Madonna and Oprah Winfrey have all been photographed wearing the scarves. Notoriously, Stone used one for a bondage scene in the film Basic Instinct.

1 comment:

cookie said...

I had a brief encounter with a vintage Hermes scarf "Les Clefs" earlier this year.
When I picked it up from a thrift store I knew that it was pretty and in excellent condition. It was done in pink, grey and black - my favorite childhood color combo from the 50's. Only after a bit of research did I find out the rich history and the second market value of the scarf.
I cared for it tenderly, never wore it and now it has passed to an appreciative new owner.