Sunday, 13 May 2012

Celebrating 175 years of Hermès...

As mentioned in Fridays post one of my key activities for this weekend was to visit the Hermès exhibition, 'Leather Forever'in London’s Mayfair. As someone that has always looked at a Hermes Berkin as the ultimate it-bag in terms of craftsmanship and quality, this exhibition was a must-see.
Walking through the exhibition it was clear that a lot of thought had been put into the production of this show by designer Alexandra Plat. Through the very potent smell of beautiful leather we ventured into an artisan room featuring a wall of iconic orange Hermès boxes and two of the brand's skilled artisans, working on making iconic Hermès pieces. It was really special to see the bags being made by hand up close and the amount of work that went into making every small detail.
Other highlights included a giant neon Kelly bag sculpture displaying the many variations of both the iconic Kelly and Birkin that have been created over the years; an equestrian room with white sand floor (one woman was trying to drag her child out of this... hilarious to watch). Also, behind a thick curtain of leather strands, a room displaying special pieces from Hermès' bespoke service, including a black patent calfskin wheelbarrow commissioned by the Duke of Windsor for Wallis Simpson in 1947, and a multi-coloured winged saddle (totally looked like something Shera would have used on her horse).
Just before leaving the exhibition, there was one final surprise in store - the unveiling of the four one-of-a-kind versions of the Hermès Passe-Guide handbag representing England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Personally I liked the Welsh one with its mini dragon attached! However with a starting bid of about £8,000, I don't think this will be my birthday present. All four bags will be auctioned online from May 14-31 by Christie's to raise funds for the Royal Academy of Art, which is a nice good deed by Hermes. Leather Forever is a free exhibition open to the public till 27th May at The Royal Academy Galleries, 6 Burlington gardens, London W1.