Hermès Festival des Métiers

I’ve been meaning to write this one up for a while, but life has just gotten in the way. So finally, I’m sitting down, accompanied by a cosy cup of mint tea with honey (à la Dutch, thank youu) & ready to rumble (yeah baby!)

Hermès, the legendary French luxury brand, held an exposition called Festival des Métiers in the Cercle Cité in Luxembourg. Its purpose was to showcase their nine different métiers (crafts, for the English speaking folks) to the public. The festival featured a handful of artisans who explained and demonstrated their daily work, allowing guests to discover how a Hermès product comes to life.

Festival salon

Festival salon

I was accompanied by the lovely (and sometimes naughty) Lily, and we ended up spending something like 2.5hrs walking around from stand to stand, chatting with artisans and watching demonstrations. One could see how bags were built, jewels assembled, watches put together, ties hand-made… Bref, it really was something very special to witness and totally made you aware of the actual effort put into the creation of each and every single item – be it a tie or a porcelain plate. In terms of prices, you also begin to understand their origin and justification. Nevertheless, that doesn’t change the fact that I still can’t afford a Birkin (cue tears).

Bling bling baby. This artisan casually worked with diamonds. No biggie, eh. Nevertheless, her job takes a lot of patience and requires very meticulous handwork.

Bling bling baby. This young lady casually worked with diamonds. No biggie, eh. Nevertheless, her job takes a lot of patience and requires very meticulous handwork.

Yet another job necessitating careful hands and patience

This guy made his own watch. How many of us can say that?

Lily checking out the scarves.

Lily checking out the carrés.

Perhaps the star of the exhibition was the scarf corner. There were four daily demonstrations of how artisans colour the famous Hermès carré’s, with an added history and culture lesson about the brand. Here are some bits and pieces I picked up:

–       Did you know every colour is printed separately on those beautiful scarves? This means that the more there are colours, the more effort needs to be put into making a carré. And here’s an insider tip we were given – whilst a carré will cost exactly the same within the Eurozone (roughly 320€), the scarves with the highest number of different colours bear a higher financial value as they cost more time and effort to make, yet Hermès chooses not to pump their prices up. How nice of you, Hermès.

–       In terms of silk production, we all know that it comes from the silkworms and their cocoons, right. Well here’s some simple Hermès math. 1 butterfly = roughly 300 silkworms. 1 silkworm = 1 cocoon. 1 cocoon = approx. 1.5km of silk fibre. So to make 1 carré we need 1 butterfly, which is 300 cocoons that give us approx. 400km of silk fibre. That’s right. A carré has 400km of silk fibre in it (mind = blown).

–       Because Hermès holds quality and craft in very high regards, it takes two years to make a carré. And once they’re sold out, they’re gone! Like seriously. So should you be in the position to buy one and you’re being a bit picky, just buy the damn thing.

Printing part I - starting off with little details that require a small quantity of colour. In this carré's case, which is called L'échec au roi, it's the outline.

Printing part I – starting off with little details that require a small quantity of colour. In this carré’s case, called l’échec au roi, it’s the outline.

Printing part II - gradually adding colours.

Printing part II – gradually adding colours.

Printing part III - the scarf on the right is finished.

Printing part III – the scarf on the right is finished.

As far as the venue was concerned, Hermès couldn’t have chosen a better place as the CC is beautiful and rather sophisticated, much like the brand’s own products. Aaand as far as me and Lily were concerned, we continued our somewhat intelligent discussions at the christmas market over a nice mug of glühwein. What a happy ending to a wonderful day.

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