Friday, August 29, 2008

Musings on Rings For Hermes Pochettes

Hermes Pochettes are just as collectible as their other scarves and shawls. Sometimes a design was released in a pochette, such as "Metamorphose D'un Carre" and "Jardins D'Eden". Pochettes can often be a fun way to start an Hermes scarf collection for the new collector, and they allow us to go ahead and wear a nice silk scarf when weather directs otherwise.

Recently I was involved in a discussion on "just what can be used as a scarf ring for Hermes Pochettes?" Now Hermes makes some nice rings for them, there are the twilly rings, and most recently horn, and metal "chaine d'ancre" rings that are quite nice, but some feel they run on the expensive side. I myself like them but feel they are a bit limiting.

I like to vari my rings as I vari my scarves. To me the wearing of a pochette while still sophisticated, also has a bit of an avant garde look to the style. Therefore I enjoy really coming up with unusual rings to wear with them.

I have found interesting vintage pieces such as bakelite pieces, old victorian scarf slides made of carved ivory, and gold; not only add texture, but attract the eye.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces from my vintage collection which I reserve for my pochettes.

This is one of my favorites given to me by my mother before she passed away. It is a smooth bakelite piece embeded with rhinestones and is flat towards the back and lays so nice upon the neck. It adds a touch of elegance to this "Musique des Spheres" pochette.

This is an unusual piece a mixture of wood, stone, rosegold, and shell. I think that it pairs well with this Legende Kuna Peuple de Panama. (You can click on any picture and it will open larger)

This is another vintage bakelite paired with rhinestones, piece, and pairs nicely with Metamorphose D'un Carre.

Yet another bakelite / rhinestone piece.

This is a gold victorian scarf clip it pairs nicely with this Effluves. This type of scarf clip is not easy to come by, it has an inner hinge that is smooth an pinches in to hold it in place.
This is a carved ivory piece in the shape of a belt with buckle. The buckle pieces are inlaid silver. It kind of says Hermes to me in a very vintage way.

This is an all glass millefiori paperweight ring and is a highlight when paired with a Sulfures pouchette.

As you can see the sky is the limit when it comes to finding vintage and antique pieces to use as scarf rings for Hermes Pouchettes. Make the most of your own style and imagination, most of all have fun.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tying An Hermes Scarf Carre Using A Plisse Knot

I like to try at times to tie my scarves in such a way as to really see a lot of the design. One of the best ways I have found to do this is to use a knot technique that was originally developed for the Plisse scarf. Below is the picture from the Plisse tying booklet. I will attempt to show you photos of how to do this technique with a regular carre or 36 inch square scarf.

First I start with the scarf off of my neck, underside up. I then pleat fold two opposing corners. See the illustrations below. The pleat folding does not have to be exact in fact it should not be, as this is what gives the billowy look to the scarf while wearing.

Now you are going to grasp the scarf in the very center keeping the pleated area bunched, and place the scarf on your neck. It is a good idea to pull it down in front kind of taunt in order to hold the pleating or bunching in place at the back of your neck.
With the front points hanging down, pull out from the center edge two little "tugs" of the scarf edge. You will be tying these together in a knot.

Once you have the little pieces "tugged" out, loop right over left and pull up slowly and tightly in place below your chin.

Now you will have some lovely billowy poofs that you can either arrange and let hang softly at your neck or off to the side, as I did with the Les Merveilles de La Vapuer below.

Or you can follow through with a full know of the tugged out areas which provides the final look of the Chevaux de France I am wearing in the picture shown last in this post.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Musing On Predicting the Recontre Oceane of Tomorrow

I sat in anticipation, breath paused with others in the room. I had come, as many others in the room an invited guest of Neiman Marcus, for the unveiling of the new fall/winter line of Hermes scarves in 2007.

When I arrived it was to a beautiful presentation of superbly set dining space, and the ultimate, a cake made to look like an Hermes presentation box. The room rang with this was going to be a wonderful gathering. There were of course many hellos to friends from far and near, the hugs, the oooos, and the awes over which scarf each one had chosen to wear.

And then we settled in for what was to be a delectable feast both for the palette, and for the eyes.

That is how I remember the day that I met, what I believe to be the next rival for top covet, in the wonderful world of Hermes scarf collecting. I was seated by chance at a table near the area where the models and the scarves made entrance. A couple came out and were handed to the table for review, they were pretty, indeed beautiful, although today I could not tell you what the names were or the colorways of those that arrived before "Chevaux de France" in a beautiful turquoise contrast hem colorway.

When this scarf was laid in my hands thunder clashed above me (OK a little exaggeration here, but that is what it felt like). Every color of the rainbow was deftly layered upon the silk, it glistened in the light, revealing the intricacy of the pattern, which was made to look like fine needlepoint stitches throughout revealing from afar a detailed design.

So why was this scarf so different? Why had I been struck almost dumb in its presence? Quite simply, I remember the raves of "Pavements" a scarf that rose in extreme popularity, and to this day remains a highly coveted piece, even after it made the list of those chosen to be faked by the unscrupulous counterfeiters.

You see "Pavements" is a design where each mosaic piece is different in shape, color and hue. But taken altogether they make up an incredible design, and so the effect is one that lends itself to the fact that someone would be hard pressed to find something that they could not wear their "Pavements" scarf with. The scarf to end all scarves if you will.

For quite sometime the "Pavements" design was a much sought after design, the prices resale went regularly went quite high for then resale pricing standards. In today's market it is still a loved design, but it does not command the attention, nor the pricing that it did four years ago. It has been replaced in that profile with a scarf that has less wearable attributes, that is to say is somewhat limited to what with and when it is worn, and that is the design "Rencontre Oceane" this scarf design seems to be most remarkable due in part to the saturation of colors in the design especially the central portion. All colorways of the design are beautiful, but the black, lime green, and the blue colorways seem to command the highest prices.

The length of time for which "Rencontre Ocean" has commanded the exteme high resale value, remains unprecedented. I am often made to wonder why this continues to be, as discussion regarding the design among collectors is unending at times. Such that I feel often we miss discussing other designs which quite frankly are more remarkable in nature.

And such is the case with "Chevaux de France". I fully predict that in the years to come, this design will become the much sought after, hard to accquire in lower price ranges, and will last long on the list of most desired designs.

I recently accquired one in the multi -color turquoise contrast hem colorway. This scarf is timeless, the details of the representation of the needlepoint stitches is heavenly to the extreme. I lose track of trying to count the colors represented in the design, it is truely amazing. I have taken and paired it with much of my wardrobe and found it to compliment nearly everything. In my opinion Hermes out did themselves in this scarf. I have not been extremely happy regarding most recent past season designs, I think I only purchased one from the spring 2007 collection. I completly understand the marketing stategy to attempt to market to a younger buyer. This effect on myself has been that it only makes me appreciate the designs of yesterday more. Until "Chevaux de France" this is a design that in later years everyone will be seeking and for all of the reasons that "Pavements" and "Rencontre Ocean" have been so loved it too will be desired.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Musings On Hermes Scarf Artist Philippe Dauchez

On July 23, 1948, France named Philippe Dauchez their official Maritime painter. His father Andre Dauchez had himself served as the official painter of the Navy, and would have wanted to direct his son towards a career in science. But Philippe Dauchez had been surrounded by artistic medium since childhood, and his love of both art and the sea quickly took root.

During a time in history when the rest of the world is just discovering the world of pleasure boating, Philippe is quietly building hid own sailing vessel in order to devote time to his passion. This passion came to an abrupt halt with the onset the war. Having obtained the coveted title of official painter of the Navy, he will then cease to sail on the seas of the world for the pleasure of cruising and racing. Instead he will carrying out his duties to document the history through the painting of France’s National marine.

His painting is spontaneous and merry, it the precise rendering and character requested of the official painters of the Navy, but it also has the reflection of the artists feelings as we can see here in the Hermes scarf bearing his signature. Here we pause as if on the docks to notice the quiet resting place of the yachts of a yacht club. Perhaps on the morning, just prior to opening day.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hermes Olympic Scarf???

In years past Hermes has produced special edition pieces for the honor of the Olympic games. Unusual this years games in Beijing no mention of a special piece to my knowledge.

There was an exhibit in Beijing held in March of this year. For that exhibition Hermes asked famous Chinese painter Mr. Ding YI to design a scarf titled "Chinese Rhythm". It was the first of its kind to be designed by a Chinese painter. It would have been wonderful if Hermes would have issued this as the official Olympic Beijing scarf.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pachyderms Take "Bringing Home The Birkin" Seriously

Ok we knew that an elephant never forgets, but who would have believed they could read! These obviously have taken Michael Tonello's book "Bringing Home The Birkin" very seriously.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

So Many Scarves, So Little Time!

Sir Francis Osbert Sacheverell Sitwell the 5th Baronet once wrote "...a scarf is, admittedly, not a tapestry, not a dress; it is a mere square of silk or some other material intended to be worn around the head. But it can be treated as a work of art. It can be collected like a rare book or print..."

Ahhh! So many scarves and just not enough time!

Musings On Caring For Silk Scarves And Yes They Can Be Washed

One of my favorite sayings regarding silk scarves came from one of the most experienced collectors that I can think of. She likes to say when discussing the durability of the silk, "They make parachutes out of it after all..." And she is right! The silk that scarves are made out of is very resilient. Silk is a natural fiber, and although it is highly recommended by manufactures most of the time to have the scarf dry cleaned. I have always cringed at the thought of what happens while at the cleaners. Dry cleaning fluid is a solvent, a lot of people do not know this, we take our beloved priceless dearly treasured items to have them coated in solvent. I am the daughter of an artist, I know what solvent does to things as I saw my father have to clean many things with it as a child in the course of his work.

I remember the first time I took one of my very first Hermes a "Les Insects" to the cleaners, I cringed to leave something so precious to me (as it was a gift) in the hands of the cleaner person. The scarf made it home not damaged but with pressed hems, I was so distraught.

Now imagine my apprehensive delight when sisters in silk within the forums came forward and admitted that they wash their beauties. Yes, I said wash! In fact they stated often times that they too were very put off with the thought of harsh chemicals coming next to their skin or their silk. I read, listened and learned. And then one day I acquired a very coveted piece that others had actually returned to a seller because it was "dingy, and stained".

When the scarf arrived to me, (and yes it was an Hermes) I was delighted to have received it, but now what was I going to do to bring the life back to it and restore it to it's original state of beauty. I had no choice, I had to enter the world of the scarf washers.

Now I have some chemistry experience, and my grandmother was famous for removing stains from things. So I decided to take the plunge. To my pleasant surprise, the scarf became pristine. So pristine that I once wore it to go shopping and when I entered the Hermes boutique, my scarf was immediately recognized as a rare piece by the first sales assistant to greet me, who then had to call others over to view my prize. They complimented me on it's beauty and rarity, I simply said thank you and smiled.

Over time I developed my own tried and true method for the activity of scarf washing and I have never looked back. Here is the formula I use:

I wash the darkly colored ones in my bathtub, as it is quite large and I can lay the scarf across the water to work with it. Other light colors I use a plastic wash tub that I put into the sink. I run cold water, and place a "dye catcher" (the market sells a Shout brand for this, it is a little white piece of like interfacing material that helps prevent dye coloring the water and therefore unwanted areas of the scarf) Mind you I have not felt that the newer scarves really need this step, but that is just me. The older scarves however do not have the newly fabricated dyes, that the newer ones do. So the older the scarf the more careful you have to be. I have even used a little salt half teaspoon diluted in warm water first,then added to the wash water for the older scarves. But I have not done this often as salt is not truly good for the silk. But on the first wash it helps to extra set old dyes it seems.

I wash in Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Laundry Soap Geranium or Lavender scent, but I have used Woolite, Dawn dish-washing soap, and the brand Tocca Delicate scented wash. Dawn dish-washing soap is good for scarves that have some sort of greasy stain or residue. I do not use it as a general wash only on a very soiled scarf.

During the wash I keep the scarf moving at all times. I rinse well,and I never squeeze only swish. I hang the scarf over a towel covered shower bar for a few minutes while the iron heats up on a prepared board.

To prepare the iron board I put a white towel down on the iron board, this helps to plump the hems as you press down next to them. I use a up down pressing motion starting in the center and working out toward the hems. I have the iron set on silk, and no water in the iron. I have a Rowenta Iront hat I use only for my scarves, but I do not think this is necessary, I do however think it is very important to have a very clean iron, no carry over residue that water or steam can sometimes leave.

Before I take the wet scarf to the iron board I gently roll it in a very large white towel. Then I take it to the board to press it dry.

I spot treat stains with items such as Dryell spot treatment that comes with their home dry cleaning kit. This removes lipstick very well.

For other stains Zout stain spray is very good.

But the best stain treatment of all is Woolite Oxydeep Carpet Cleaner sprayed directly all over the scarf, wait a few minutes then wash as usual. I know this sounds very involved but it really is not. I just tried to include all of the information off the top of my head so you could have an idea, and know that it is entirely possible to wash scarves successfully, and never dryclean them again.

Oh and when pressing I press down next to the hem as I kind of massage and roll the hem to plump it as I press, never pressing on top of the hem.

I need to make something crystal clear, regarding stain treatment, and scarf washing. Do not use any other "Oxy" product on the scarves other than "Woolite Oxydeep Carpet Cleaner", this is not the same product as "Oxyclean". Oxyclean is a product that will damage the silk. No two Oxy products are a like. And to my knowledge the only safe Oxy product is theWoolite Oxydeep Carpet Cleaner which comes in a blue spray bottle.

As collectors we value the plump forward rolled hems of the Hermes scarf, once a hem has been flattened by a dry cleaner the only way to replump it is to wash and massage the hems back to their plump state, or to have the scarf hem re-rolled through Hermes or a professional hemmer.

I am fortunate in that I have rather an abundance of scarves so there are scarves that I wear more often than others, and there are those that I wear but mostly for the very special occasion, those special ones are not worn often, and I am extremely careful when I do wear them so that the possibility of them needing a washing is minimalized, but should the event happen that one should become spotted, I would rather tackle the issue myself, than place it in the hands of someone else.

There is another benefit to scarf washing, it is extremely relaxing, and seems to take the cares away, it can be very self soothing when the world is hectic.

So if you truly care about your beloved silk beauties, take the plunge in washing, you will not look back. Otherwise you will be sitting on the sidelines watching your hems get flatter and flatter.