We know and love its luxurious leather goods and louche ready-to-wear line, but what some of us often overlooked is the work that Hermès does with silk, which is an art unto itself. We have seen playful ties from the brand embedded with cheeky motifs (think ice cream cones, paint rollers and even a jungle scene) which, while not apparent at first glance, are hard to unsee when one finally makes the cognitive associations. It’s a little secret for the wearer – a reminder of something pure and wacky that stands up to the sobriety of the corporate world that, ironically, is represented by the tie.
Besides neckties, Hermès’ famous silks have also taken the form of scarves, which are legitimate pieces of wearable art in and of themselves. The process of silkscreen printing them is tedious and exacting: individual colours are printed, fixed and then printed again until a pattern is finally revealed.
This season, Hermès has upped the ante with its latest breakthrough – printing on both sides of a scarf in different colours, with the pattern perfectly mirrored on both sides. Matching the patterns is already challenging enough, but the porous, delicate silk makes this process a sheer feat. What’s more, the colours have to be applied precisely to avoid seepage. The exact process is a fiercely guarded trade secret, of course, but we are quite happy to simply look at the end product and marvel at the mastery of their metiers.