A couple of weeks ago I popped down to the Kings Road to visit the Saatchi gallery and the week long exhibition, "Festival des Métiers." Described as a "rendezvous with the Hermès craftspeople" it was an eye opening glimpse behind the scenes of one of the worlds most iconic brands. Artisans from the company displayed their skills, whilst (with the help of translators) described their job and what it involved.
Being slightly erm...height restricted (translation...I'm only 5ft!) there were certain displays I couldn't see because I wasn't tall enough to peer over the crowds! However there was more than enough to catch my eye from porcelain painting to diamond setting.
The top two images show a traditional technique of pulling silk through the scarf to produce a velvet, flocked effect. Each scarf takes about 8 days to complete.
The bottom two images are examples of hand painted porcelain trays, explained to the audience by Christine who was originally an architectural draftsperson. Each tray takes roughly ten days to complete, painted completely freehand (I can't imagine doing this...I am a recurrent smudger of ink). Each layer of colour is painted and fired separately and the silver detail around the edges of actually liquid platinum which, because of it's price, means that it has to be exactly right first time.
Incredibly detailed drawings which make up the scarf artwork when layered up. Each separate colour needs it's own illustration for the printing process. The particular drawing that we were shown has 47 colours which means 47 separate sheets.
Aren't the colours beautiful?
It was honestly so refreshing to see true artisans at work, now that we're all used to mass produced products. I think I took for granted the true skill that goes into producing products such as these. Whilst we might all gasp at the high prices of luxury goods, seeing displays like this you can see why they are fully justified.
The true sense of passion and creativity from the brand really shined through. Just as a side note, this is also reflected in their corporate website...it's amazing!