Tag Archive for 'Hermes'

I Heart My Hermès Scarf, Part Deux

Well folks, I just picked up Brazil from the Hermès store on Madison Avenue.  Here she is from a distance:

She looks ok, right?  Well that’s what I thought.  But then I looked closely and I admit it, tears sprung up in my eyes.  I realize that the folks at Hallak tried to fix her, I just don’t love the fix.  There were two holes in the scarf and apparently they were along the same fold line (honestly, I don’t really recall if there were on the same fold line on not, but based on the way she’s been repaired that’s all I can surmise).  Here’s a close-up:

See the black line down the middle?  That’s the fix.  Now you get the tears.  The saleswoman was lovely, I’ve worked with her before. Before I could speak, I could tell by her expression that she understood my frustration.  I calmly told her, “I’m not happy with the way this turned out.  I know I signed a release form, but I’m not happy with this.”  She felt my pain, said what were meant to be placating words and then went to have a talk with the manager.  While there I learned that I’m not the first person who’s loved her scarf to death and unfortunately, this is the “fix”.  They can’t weave the twill fibers back together.  However, all agreed that the fix does look somewhat like a band-aid upon further inspection.  Only this is a band-aid that can’t be peeled off when the boo-boo is healed.  Hermès agreed not to charge me for the band-aid.  Lesson learned?  Take better care of my scarves.  Carry them in my bag in a protective case (Ziploc bags are perfect for just such a thing) and store them in the flat square boxes they come in.

I’m sad, Brazil is still my favorite.  But, there are people in Haiti trying to figure out how to survive and service men and women in Afghanistan hoping to come home alive.  If my only disappointment is the repair of my Hermès scarf, I should count myself lucky and I do.  It’s easy to become tethered by earthly goods; my goal for 2010 is to loosen those ties, soar beyond them and be thankful for the wonderful family and friends I hold dear.  Because really, when it comes down to the come down, they’re what count most.

I Heart My Hermès Scarf

Hermes scarves

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

Perfect for bad hair days

Keeps my neck warm on the plane, in the subway and in over airconditioned rooms

Looks fab tied on the handle of some of my handbags

Protects my tresses from the elements and

Acts as a shawl in a pinch

My friend Karla introduced me to the virtues of owning an Hermès scarf, or scarves if you’re lucky, in 1991.  Yes, it’s been a love affair of almost 20 years.  I was a bit younger then and I confess that the idea of paying an arm&leg for a scarf that seemed somewhat old ladyish wasn’t my idea of high fashion.  But, then I saw how versatile the scarf was – Karla wore it around her neck, her waist, in her hair – and Elaine from Seinfeld even had one hung on her apartment wall.  I couldn’t afford one on my graduate school stipend, but I resolved to get one once I had a real salary.  Fast forward another graduate degree and 11 years.  My sister and I were in Paris shopping at Clingnancourt – one of the most wonderful flea markets I have ever been to – when I saw it, “Brazil”.  Black silk with pops of gold, green, brown and white.  It was second-hand, but authentic.  I dithered for a moment and then plunked down my francs; my life hasnt been the same ever since.  For the past 9 years I have collected Hermès scarves and worn one almost daily (my neck gets cold easily, so Summer, Winter, Spring or Fall at some point in time during the day my neck is wrapped up).  I’ve got them in a rainbow of colors with some of the most beautiful patterns created by designers from all over the world for the venerable house in France, but my favorite scarf is “Brazil”.  I don’t leave home without it. No matter how small my bag is, Brazil is with me.  Just like the Teddy that received a little bit too much love, Brazil was starting to look a little hagard (a spill of suntan lotion notwithstanding, the magicians at Chris French Cleaners worked their wonders on that one); I recently discovered a hole in it along one of the folds where the silk twill fibers have separated.  I was devestated initially.  Then shocked.  What have I done?!!? How could I be so careless?

I dropped Brazil off at the Hermès store on Madison Avenue a few weeks ago. Suzy, the Assistant Manager, was so nice and kind to me.  She completely understood my devastation and indulged my concerns as she wrote up my repair ticket.  Brazil is in bad shape.  I discovered another hole while showing Suzy my scarf.  So fingers crossed, the folks at Hallak Dry Cleaners (Suzy swears by them) will be able to resuscitate my baby.

Believe it or not, from time-to-time, Hermès re-issues scarves and as luck would have it, Brazil was re-issued Spring 2009 (it’s the yellow scarf in the far left panel – pretty funky, no?).  The black version has pops of purple, red, yellow, green and orange.  It’s really pretty, but it’s not my Brazil.  Each scarf has a history behind it’s creation; Brazil was designed by Laurence Bourthoumieux.

For the uninitiated, a little background information on the House of Hermès.  Originally, Hermès made harnesses and saddles for a privileged clientele but with Henry Ford’s invention of the automobile horse-power went by the wayside.  So, he applied a bit of ingenuity and began to add a line of luxury items to his inventory – boots, luggage, jewelry, home decor items, and watches.  The first scarf square to accompany the Hermès collection was produced in 1928, inspired by that worn by Napolean’s soldiers. To be ‘of its time’, the scarf was printed with the names of cars. It was a big success; eleven years later a factory for scarf production was opened in Lyon.

Each design requires:

  • nine to twelve months of research and development;
  • fifty-odd designers;
  • ideas drawn from all styles and genres; and
  • contributions from artists from all over the world, famous and not so famous.

It takes six to eight weeks to prepare as many silk-screen printing frames as there are colours in particular scarf. For instance, in 1994, the “Celebrations of the Sun-King” required 1,200 hours of work to make its 35 frames.  The printers prepare their pigments to make a palette of tonnes of printing inks. Then, the Brazilian silk is spread out on heated tables 150 metres long. This allows a batch of 100 squares, comprising forty colours, to be printed. After printing, seamstresses roll and stitch the hem of a square, by hand, in 30 to 45 minutes. The Lyonnaise factory can produce 40,000 scarves in a week. Every year, there are two collections, each consisting of a dozen designs, of which four to six are classics with the colours updated.  Hence, the re-issue of Brazil last year.

Nora Ephron said she feels bad about her neck, I don’t and I hope I never will thanks to Brazil!  I’ll keep you posted on Brazil’s condition when I get her back.  Finger’s crossed, she’ll be as good as new.

[images courtesy of Hermès]


img00047From time-to-time when I learn of great sample sales, you know, those hard to find, you hear about after-the-fact type sales, I’ll do my best to clue you in.

WHAT: Hermes Sample Sale

WHY: Really Ladies, why not?  Hermes is the legendary French luxury label know for the iconic Birkin & Kelly bags.  Hermes is having a sample sale on its womens collection, including scarves, handbags and accessories.  It’s highly unlikely that you’ll walk away with a Birkin bag,  but you’d be surprised at what you might score!  Do your homework, check out www.hermes.com before you make your way downtown.

WHEN: 3.25.2009 – 3.29.2009, Wednesday -Saturday  10am-6pm  & Thursday until 8pm

WHERE: The Metropolitian Pavilion , 123 West 18th Street (btwn 6th & 7th Avenues)

The Art of the Sample Sale

I know, we’re in a recsession and no one’s shopping.  The economy is tanking and everyone is doing his or her part to save money by staying away from the stores. Got it.  But, on the off chance that more than a few folks are trying to maximize on the economy’s effect on the retail industry, take note.  Sample sales continue to flourish, both in Manhattan and online for those of you who dont have the pleasure of living on our lovely isle.  Ever go to a sample sale and wonder why you wasted your time? Lied to your boss? Skipped lunch?  Finally got around to logging into Hautelook.com  or Gilt.com only to find that the 1 item you really wanted has “SOLD OUT” emblazoned across it?  Here’s the truth, and if cornered any fashionista worth her weight in Prada will tell you the same, there’s a definite art to sample sale shopping …. Go early.  I know, the sale is going to run for 3 days so what’s the big deal, right?  If you really want that Hermes scarf, Missoni dress, or Kooba bag you’ve got to play the game by the unwritten set of rules.

  1. Go early.  If the sale begins at 10 am.  Get there no later than 9:30 to cue up.  Diehards will be there at 8:45 or 9 am at the latest to ensure they get what they’ve come for.  Bring something to read and be cognizant of friends meeting up with you – depending on the sale (Tory Burch or Kate Spade for example) a cat fight may ensue if folks feel that your friend is cutting the line.  If it’s an online sale, set a reminder for yourself so that you’re signing onto the site just a few minutes before the sale is slated to begin.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the brand’s merchandise.  Know what is, or was, in the stores.  This way, once the sale begins, it’s just a matter of locating your item rather than browsing through racks or pages online.  Trust me, while you browse others are making a beeline for the items they’ve already identified.  This is a sure way to walk out of a sale empty-handed and dejected. 
  3. Remember, lots of sample sale places don’t have individual dressing rooms if they have a changing area at all.  Wear your nice underwear … enuf said …. and wear clothes that are easy to get in and out of to make trying stuff on easier.  
  4. Pay attention to the fine print.  Some sales are final, some take cash only, some will only accept credit cards (and certain ones at that) …. Online sales usually permit returns but instead of getting your money back, your account will be credited once the shipping costs are deducted.
  5. And lastly, and most importantly, don’t buy something for the sake of buying something.  There’s nothing wrong with a little retail therapy every now and again, but if you don’t see what you came for  and/or if you dont find something that makes your heart sing – back away from the racks … Go home or back to work and try again next time, ‘cuz you know what, there will absolutely be a next time.