This week, luxury fashion house Hermes is showcasing the story behind its legendary scarves in a first of its kind exhibition in Asia. Here are some nuggets to whet your appetite before you go.
Making a Carre, which means “square”, is a labour-intensive production process that takes approximately two years from design to final product. The raw silk is spun in Brazil, skeins of which are sent to France. It is then refined over the course of three months and turned into rolls of silk twill ready for printing. About 450km of silk thread is required for one scarf.
The scarves’ designs are all hand drawn, then printed onto the silk squares using a transfer method called lyonnais painting – otherwise known as flat screen printing. Said screens are strategically placed on the fabric to facilitate the gradual transfer of the dye to silk. This technique allows for the introduction of new designs and colour to the scarves if necessary. The more colours in the design, the longer it takes to make. A scarf sporting about 30 colours would have taken approximately 500 hours to imprint.
THE ACCESSORY OF FAMOUS WOMEN
Over the years, women of name have elevated the silk square to be more than a staple in the fashion industry. Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly, used it as a sling for her broken arm in 1956. Queen Elizabeth II wore the scarf in a portrait for a postage stamp. The Carre also appeared on prominent women like Jackie Onassis – pictured draped over her head and knotted under the chin – as well as Audrey Hepburn on the cover of Life magazine in 1956.
81 YEARS OLD
The first Carre scarf, “Jeu de Omnibus et Dames Blanches”, was launched in 1937. Designed by Hugo Grygkaro, the motif of horse-drawn carriages encircling players at a gaming table depicted the Madeleine-Bastille omnibus route, which revived public transport in Paris in 1828. The theme was inspired by an early board game. Over the years, more intricate designs were added to the house’s collection. Even after eight decades, the scarf remains an essential in Hermes’ product line-up.
HERMES CARRE CLUB
Hermes Carre Club takes place from Oct 19 to 21, 11am to 8pm, at 3 Lady Hill Road. Conceptualised by the artistic director of the Hermes women’s universe, Bali Barret, this exhibition showcases the creativity, craftsmanship and heritage behind the Carre. Designers and artisans such as Gianpaolo Pagni and Alice Shirley will be on hand to showcase their creative process, while fashion illustrator and designer Keng Saw will create portraits for members – register to join the club here – in his signature style.
The Carre Club will also have many stations of interest, including retro telephone booths, where guests can listen to anecdotes and fictional messages about the Carre scarves, and even a Carre-paneled karaoke box, in which guests can sing their hearts out. No parking available on-site, drop-offs only.
Hermes Carre Club. Oct 19 to 21, 11am to 8pm. 3 Lady Hill Road. To enter, register here.