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Hermès fashion meets French art

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The fashion piece that made Jackie O. and Audrey Hepburn ultra-chic and super classy has gone into a bold yet en vogue expression. The emblematic silk scarf by Hermès undergoes a dramatic transformation once again after having launched its first edition of ‘carré d’artiste’ in 2008 with ‘Homage to the Square’ by Josef Albers.

This year, Hermès has invited French artist Daniel Buren to personalise the infamous emblematic square of silk, and is offering a limited number of artistic scarves to its tasteful customers.

This approach seals the bond between the bests, the one of Hermès and the one of Daniel Buren, and has resulted in the birth today of ‘Photos-souvenirs au carré’, an edition consisting of a series of 365 ‘pièces uniques’ on silk.

Daniel Buren proposed the creation of silk prints on a multitude of Hermès scarves – each one unique – based on thousands of “photo-souvenirs”. This term, invented by the artist, refers to the hundreds of thousands of photographs that he has accumulated since the 1950s and that he defines as “photos without pretension and no more than that” (Les Écrits, 1988) and refers as well to his own works as the pictures taken during his trips all around the world.

For this project, twenty-two photo-souvenirs were selected, some of which represent Daniel Buren’s in situ installation for the Atelier Hermès in Dosan Park. The others, taken by the artist during his travels across the four corners of the world, represent a flag-lined street, a fragment of architecture or geometric paving; but also a Mediterranean fishing port, a flamboyant sunset, flowers of extraordinary beauty or the golden clouds of a Baroque dome.

Taking the best of both worlds – fashion and art – is a totally brilliant idea for the fashion house. According to Pierre-Alexis Dumas, Artistic Director of Hermès, “This encounter responds to a vital need for the house: The confrontation of an artist’s work with our know-how opens up a necessary dialog that allows us to innovate, develop new expressions and move ahead in mastering our métiers. Hermès remains a living enterprise that takes risks, reaches beyond its own limits and strives to reinvent itself with each new generation.”

Hermès has launched 365 original scarves from 22 photos-souvenirs, 2 to 4 selected frames within each photo and 18 possibilities of framings according to the selected pictures. Daniel Buren framed them with a “visual tool” which, since 1965, has functioned as his signature – another concept invented by the artist-  featuring alternating white and coloured vertical stripes 8.7 cm wide (here in sky blue, dark blue, yellow, black, orange, pink, red, green and purple). The framing with coloured stripes is used as an invariant visual that unites, creating a connection, but also produces a difference.

To print the photographs onto silk, Hermès had to turn to the technique of ink-jet printing, a procedure which allows an infinite number of colours to be used, whereas traditional screen printing techniques only allow for a limited number. The printed photography, sublimated, presents colourful nuances that are more intense, delicate and almost pictorial, with a certain warmth in the image and softness lent by the silk, and the beautiful traversée.

The 365 scarves created by Daniel Buren for Hermès Éditeur can be considered works of art, but the artist likes to remind us that they are above all designed to be tied about the neck, draped, worn and crushed: he points out that “they are unique objects like paintings but rather than fixed on a wall are made to be worn”. For the artist – who has long since liberated himself in his work from the frames and frameworks imposed on painting – the scarf as an item to be worn is not devoid of meaning, since it extends his intervention into public space.

The artworks from ‘Photos-souvenirs au carré’ will be presented during the week of the Fiac in partnership with the Kamel Mennour gallery and La Monnaie de Paris, at La Monnaie de Paris – 11 quai de Conti – Paris 75006 from October 20th to November 7th 2010, open Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am to 7 pm. La Monnaie de Paris is a particularly appropriate location to present this work, it is also a house of know-how and tradition in métiers d’art that welcomes contemporary artists.

Whereas, the covetable fashion scarves from ‘Photos-souvenirs au carré’ edition will be available from October 20th in selected Hermès stores, with an accompanying book co-published with Xavier Barral editions.

We’ll keep you informed when this classic fashion pieces are out and about in Dubai. But, as our personal suggestion, since this fashionable art is very limited and 100% exclusive, we believe that you should queue your name in Hermès shop at the Dubai Mall to secure a piece. Better do it now than later because who knows how long will the waiting list be this time. We just hope it is not as long as that for the Birkin.

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