Sunday, October 26, 2008

Musings On Things That Warm My Heart...Besides The Contents Of Orange Boxes

Sometimes it is just nice to stop and ponder on all of the things in life that I am grateful for, the things that warm my heart, the things in life that make me smile, the things in life that I am just glad are part of living this life, things I love:

The aroma of a freshly made cup of Earl Grey Tea.

The sweet sensation of its bergamot on my tongue.

Old quilts, especially the one that belonged to my mother.

Good books with good writing that draws me into an experience I would not have had otherwise.

The chill in the air at the sea, when it is moist, and breathing it in tastes sweetly salty.

Early, frosty winter mornings, when I can take a cup of tea and get into the hot tub, watch the sun rise, and raccoons as they steal across the yard on their way home from a night of foraging.

Movies that make me laugh so hard my sides hurt, and tears run down my face.

The sight of fog on the Golden Gate as I enter the city from the north, and I can look up and see the towering spans peeking out above the billows.

A really good cup of chocolat on a cold night with the lights out, and only candles and a soft fire lighting the room.

Watching the squirrels run outside the big front window, shaded in spots,

yet still lit by the sun.

Old film noir, on rainy days where the color of the sky matches the colors on the screen.

The colors of spring as it bursts forth here in the wine country, the new green on the hills, the young leaves on the vines, the daffodils growing along the Valley of The Moon Highway.

Smooth stones washed by the sea, sitting with shells in clear glass bowls.

Spiced cider, when the color of the leaves all around me are russet,

and a chill is nipping at my nose and cheeks.

The feel of cashmere against my skin, soft, making me feel calm and serene.

The night sky in the summer, when it looks as if someone tossed diamonds as high, as high as they could throw.

Sitting at my favorite restaurant on the square, at an unusual hour of the day. The patio doors open, and all the bustle is on view in front of me. While behind me the room is quiet,
and staff prepares again for the rush time.

The first rain, the sweetness it leaves in the air.
The sculptures I have that my father made,
because they were touched by his hands, and love was left behind.
The smell of a new Hermes scarf or shawl.
The feel of the silk when pressing and finishing a scarf.
Old things that if they could talk and tell you where they have been,
would speak of dreams and joys, held and had by others from another time and place.
The silence of snowfall.
Saturday afternoon movies with my friend,
and we are bundled up in comfy clothes,
with cups of chai and popcorn.
Friends those special people who really know who you are,
and forgive who you are not.
Cheese, all types, all forms, and in many things. Like
omelettes with fresh garden herbs, and mushrooms.

Handmade things, that the person put part of their being into the craftmanship.

Opening Soon

Opening Soon

Opening Soon

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Musings On "Le Geographe"

In 1992 Hermes issued a design by artist Sandra Laroche titled appropriately enough "Le Geographe". The scarf takes it's title from a French ship bearing the same name. Le Geographe was a 30 + gun corvette, originally commissioned the Galatee. Her name, as well as the name of the sister ship which would accompany her were changed right before the historic expedition she would undertake.

Captain Nicolas Thomas Baudin
Captain Nicolas Baudin had appealed to General Napoleon Bonaparte to be allowed to command a scientific expedition which would conduct a scientific examination of Terres Australes ( Australia) and possibly find an opening for a French settlement.

The Institute of National France sponsored the expedition. On October 19, 1800 Captain Baudin left La Harve, France with two ships the Geographe, and the Naturaliste. There were approximately 100 people aboard each. There were 23 scientists aboard each of the ships, astronomers, geographers, mineralogists, geologists, hydrographers, gardeners, botanists, zoologists, and a pharmacist. There were also portrait, natural history and landscape artists on board. Each discipline had two or three representatives that were spread between the two ships.

Francois Augustine Peron

Among the many scientific professionals under Baudin's command was a zoologist trainee by the name of Francois A. Peron. Peron had saught to join Baudin's expedition after a tragic end to a love affair. He had wanted to serve as an anthropological observer, instead he was appointed zoologist trainee, later in the voyage his position would be elevated to a prominent position of sole zoologist after others were lost along the voyage due to death and desertion.

Historically Peron would become famous for documenting the voyage after the death of Captain Baudin. But most importantly with the help of fellow shipmate, artist Charles Alexandre Lesueur, Peron gathered over 100,000 zoological specimens. The most comprehensive Australian natural history collection to date.

Charles-Alexandre Lesueur

Charles A. Lesueur was employed for the main job of illustrating Baudin's log books. As the journey progressed Lesueur became more of a specialist in drawing animals. This is because he became very close friends with the zoologist Péron. Péron was disliked a great deal by Baudin and made many enemies during the voyage. However, he and Lesueur became firm friends. Under Péron's guidance, Lesueur learnt the art of taxidermy, and the skills for trapping and hunting animals. At other times Péron would dance about and play the fool to distract the Indigenous Australians while Lesueur sketched them. Lesueur also learnt from Péron the importance of colour and paying particular attention to detail. Apart from completing drawings of many animals, he produced a variety of landscapes often including aspects of Indigenous Australian culture.

On July 18, 1801 similar expedition had set sail from Great Britian.

Matthew Flinders

Having been given command of the vessel "The Investigator" Matthew Flinders set sail with a group of scientists, his orders were to chart and map the coast of Australia.

On December 6, 1801, Flinders reached Australia at Cape Leeuwin, and proceeded to begin surveying Australian coastline moving southward along it's shores.

On 8 April 1802 while sailing east Flinders sighted the Le Geographe, a French corvette commanded by the explorer Nicolas Baudin. Both men of science, Flinders and Baudin met and exchanged details of their discoveries, at what would later be named Encounter Bay.

This design is a jacquard. Hermes no longer produces jacquards supposedly having found them too expensive to produce today. When you wear a jacquard the designs woven into the silk catch and reflect the light. In this case kangaroos, and anchors dance and vie for the right to shimmer in the design.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Musings on Jonques Et Sampans

One should never spend too much time with a scarf that one is thinking of culling from their collection and selling, it just might not end up where you had planned.

So the story went with my best laid plans of this morning. I have had Jonques et Sampans for sometime now and not worn it. I kept thinking that I would but then did not and it kind of sat there with the others never saying a word until today.

I would love to know what inspired famed french illustrator Françoise de la Perrière; when he mused upon the design "Jonques et Sampan". Had he actually taken his in his inspiration while viewing Junks in their original setting in some far off Asian setting, or had he been inspired by the artwork of another such as shown in the ancient Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock pictured above.

I actually spent quite a lot of time traveling in the Orient, while I lived in Japan. The massive floating hulls of the Junks are a sight to be seen. That was what had originally drawn me to this piece. Today I took a deeper closer look into its watery depths. I have always considered some of the other colorways of this design a bit garish, preferring the subtlety of this sea-glass colored version. I purchased it about the same time as I purchased a "Geisha" in a rather similar colorway. I realize now that I was reminiscing and missing my time spent in the orient and that is what probably prompted the purchase of both designs.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Musings On Fashion, Where To Find It And Where To Sell It In Frugal Times

I have a friend from the scarf forums who has been musing recently about all of the difficulties that have arisen for people who buy and sell high end fashion items on eBay.

There are a lot of collectors that refresh their collections by culling and selling off scarves to make room for more. And this has become increasingly difficult to do on eBay with any success for a lot of reasons most recently.

So many people like my friend are venturing out on their own, in some cases they are even joining up to work together on alternatives. The site owner of "What 2 Wear 411" is willing to meet and talk to others who are interested in listing some of their authentic pieces there. The site is new, and is in the start up stage but is up and running with some very nice items already there. So have a look and email Karen on the site if you yourself are interested in listing some things, or buying.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

An Hermes Scarf Holds A Love Story Within It's Silken Threads

The greatest love stories are often tragic. But how many times are they associated with a scarf? In Medieval times a lady would often tie her scarf around the armour of her favored knight, a sign of adoration.

The story by Chhengiz Aytmatov, "The girl With The Red Scarf" was translated by french poet Luis Aragon who called it the "world's greatest love story..."

If we were to truly look back in time many a heart struck gentleman has formally stated his love by the gift of a scarf to the lady of his affection. But how many of those moments, or stories have been preserved in time, only to be rediscovered at a later time?

I had the privilege of such an occurrence, when years ago I purchased a lovely old Hermes scarf, simply because it was a rare design, and I was attracted to the simplicity of the piece.

Think about your favorite or even the greatest love story that you remember hearing. Are they not often tragic?

I was gifted to be the person to whom a great though tragic love story was passed to, preserved in the silk of an Hermes scarf.

"En Vente Chez Hermes a Paris"

The scarf had come to the person from whom I received it, from her Great-Aunt. The scarf had come to her in its box inside of its original tissue with a note. The note read:

"A very special Hermes-Paris scarf from my love Gus. Worn 2-3 timeswith him, never to be worn again. My beloved Gus died in 1961."

The person I received the scarf from explained the note this way:

"My aunt was a career woman who never married. She had this love affair with Gus for 15 years! He was Catholic and his wife would not give him a divorce. He separated from his wife and was working in New York City when my aunt met him. He had been separated for 3 years. They each had their own apartment, but they were together for 15 years. He died of a heart attack in 1961 in my aunt's arms. My aunt died in 1969."

Sometimes I don Gus' memento of his love for this lovely woman, wrap myself up in my favorite cashmere sweater, make myself a cup of tea, light some candles, grab a good book of poetry, and let the threads cast their magic of memory of a tale of strong yet tragic love, that has stood the test of time, and lived on even after the lovers are gone.

Musings On Hermes Scarves

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Musing On A Mystery - Napoleon III

When I first started this blog, I spoke about how I found the mysteries regarding some of the scarves histories so intriguing. Hermes has been making scarves for so long that there are always scarves that come along that even long time collectors have not seen. It does not happen often but it does happen, and discussions around them in the past have always been lively and fun for me.

I recently acquired a scarf, that many of us thought was only printed for one special event, that being the 150 year anniversary of Credit Lyonnais Bank in London. Which celebrated its anniversary in 1970. Now while it is true that Hermes did in fact print special pieces in limited quantities for this event, they also printed a Napoleon III / Empire C'est La Paix which was not distributed for this event alone, as it was not printed with the imprint of the anniversary dates.

I love the consistency that in keeping with the historical significance Hermes printed the Napoleon III in a jacquard of "Bees".

Historically speaking there is much reverence and attention given to anything which has to do with the reign of the first Napoleon. No major anniversary of births, battles, or buildings goes uncelebrated.

The legacy of Napoleon III includes some of the most progressive social reforms of the period, along with much of the modern infrastructure of France as we know it today, including railroads and major ports. The second empire also saw the building of major avenues, and a sewer system that still functions today. Napoleon III also organized innovative financial and credit organizations.

Historians have always treated France's "Second Empire" somewhat dismissively. However, Hermes honors the Emperor here with Ledoux's beautiful design, which also commemorates the special relationship held between England's Queen Victoria, and Napoleon III. It is fitting that above Napoleon III the words Empire C'est La Paix . Perhaps Queen Victoria said it best when after visiting the tomb of Napoleon I escorted by Napoleon III, in her journal she wrote:

"The coffin is in a small side chapel, de St. Jerome....Into this the Emperor led me, and there I stood, at the arm of Napoleon III, his nephew, before the coffin of our bitterest foe, I, the granddaughter of that King who hated him most and who most vigorously opposed him, and this very nephew who bears his name, being my nearest and dearest ally!"

Napoleon the III's grave site has no place of honor in France, for he died in exile on the not too distant shores of England following complications with gallstone surgery. His wife had a church built in Farnborough this was to be his final resting place.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Musings On Mustangs

Our childhoods hold wonderous memories that we can call up at any given moment, muse on them and drift back to a time when life was carefree and warm. Some of the special memories I have involve the quality times spent with my father. Who because of what he taught me, how he taught me, and what he shared with me, enriched my life forever. He has been gone for sometime now, but special memories linger on.

He loved the Amerian western. I remember the stories he would tell about going to the matinees when he himself was young. And then growing up I got to relive those moments with him through the miracle of television. There also were those trips together to matinees of our own.

As an adult, I still seekout the westerns when they come to the big screen. Which today is few and far between. Each time I do, I somehow feel as if I am again spending time with Dad.

I am excited about one that is set to be released soon, 'Appaloosa'. I have always wanted just the right colorway of Robert Dallet's design "Mustangs". I think I have found the one for me. I will be wearing it the next time I spend some time with dear old Dad.

Musings On Citrouilles et Coloquintes Oh So Very Fall

Scroll Down For More Pictures of Citrouilles et Coloquintes

The leaves are turning and there is a chill in the air, that whispers the onset of fall. A time for hot cider, and pumkin pies. We turn the soil over saying goodbye to the fare of summer, in preparation for the winter frost and rain. The season changes, and things around us get just a little more still as winter approaches.

Those are the feelings that Valerie Dawlat-Dumoulin's design Citrouilles et Coloquintes stirs within my soul. I want to get my cup of tea and snuggle up with a good read. Fall is here.