If you follow fashion and appreciate nice clothes, you’re probably very familiar with the well-known Hermès name. This prestigious design house is located in Paris and is known for its wide range of luxury accessories and clothes. One of its most popular items is its exquisite silk scarves (also known as carrè). Each one is a true work of art, featuring colorful and unusual designs that are easily recognized and in high demand. When you throw on a Hermès scarf, you instantly transform any ordinary outfit into something extraordinary.
A Status Symbol
The first Hermès scarf, which was printed with the names of different types of cars, was produced in 1928 and was based on the style scarf that Napoleon’s soldiers wore. Another early Hermès design featured a group of ladies wearing white wigs. The production of these scarves right from the start was quite extensive, from spinning raw Chinese silk into yarn and weaving it into a fabric, which would then have a custom design screen printed using vegetable dye.
What was particularly unique about this process was the level of detail that was involved. In fact, each color of the design would be separately printed and would need a month or more to dry before the next one would be applied. (Keep in mind that one of the most complicated Hermès scarf designs was printed in 2006 and had 46 colors and therefore required 46 separate screens.) A testament to the fine work that these scarves feature is that fact that the hem of each and every one is hand rolled and then hand-stitched. This process alone takes about 40 minutes for one scarf. To accommodate this lengthy and intensive art, in 1937 Hermès established a factory in Lyon, France specifically dedicated specifically to the scarf production process.
The Production Process
Since the Lyons’ scarf factory began production in 1937, as many as 25,000 scarf designs have been created by Hermès. In addition, the design house continues to employ a long and complicated process to produce each scarf and as many as 50 designers are employed at a time to translate styles and drawings into fabric prints. The company invests a significant amount in training its employees. To this end, some of the craftsmen are sent to locations around the world to learn new techniques.
Every year, Hermès releases two silk scarf collections featuring a dozen designs in each. While some of the designs are new ones, there are also several older prints that are produced with a new array of colors. In addition, limited edition prints are released periodically. Some of the designs that have been featured over the years include equestrian drawings, banners, coats of arms, French cuisine and flora and fauna, among many others. The company also releases two collections annually of scarves made from a silk and cashmere blend.