Festival des Metiers

"Celebrate the Magic in the Making"

The ubiquitous Birkin bag tends to come along with the ubiquitous question, “why so expensive?” The Festival des Metiers answers this accurately, extensively and perhaps even drives you to think that maybe, just maybe, debt isn’t so bad. Tuesday night of this week prematurely kicked off the Hermes hosted event. It’s essentially a celebration that marks the gathering of several of the skilled craftsmen from Paris that travel to the big international cities and spread the Hermes gospel. Some with speech, yes, but most with their disposition and the proof that every piece of Hermes–even the shirt buttons–is a work of art.

When I walked into the grandiose room at 583 Park, I was met with (champagne,) a long, elegant bleached wood rack infiltrated by silk scarves of virtually every color variety. Next to the rack stood a man behind what looked like three very large square tables. He was printing a scarf. On one table, paint covered a block of silk. On another, something seemed to be drying and on the last, the man behind the table noted, “this, madames et monsieurs, is why you must dry clean your scarves.” The prints are original, created in house, and come to fruition by way of real paint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At a more remote station, crystal glasses were being illustrated with gold. I made the silly mistake of asking what sort of paint was used. “It is 24 karat gold.” Each glass is meticulously painted by hand, making them all one of a kind.

Hey! This is Pierre. He specializes in the composition of Kelly bags. What is he doing here? Creating the handle. How long does it take? Four and a half hours. Four and a half hours. The handle is composed of five pieces of leather glued and shaped together to create a comfortable dwelling station for your hand. And at last, it seems, the wait list is viable.

At the Collier de Chien station–unfortunately, my iPhone couldn’t capture the majestic process in its glory–a woman with a translator sat carving small bolts. “It takes two months to carve this bracelet,” she told me. “And another two weeks to place the diamonds on the bolts.” A ha, I said, and to the sound of live trumpets summoning the beginning of dinner, I walked downstairs.

Where a large room was carpeted in a signature Hermes print, floral arrangements were set in white leather and the CEO stood up to thank everyone for coming while he explained, “At Hermes, quality takes time.”

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Thoughts?
  • elisa

    So erm on the matter of dry cleaning scarves, I have something to confess: I once tried to hand-wash my hermes scarf… Three words: don’t do it.

    Elisa – Wandering Minds fashion
    http://www.ourwanderingminds.com

  • ImportKt

    Thanks, you rock at making fashion cerebral and vice versa. Inspiration is one thing but craft is a beast of completely different burden. Kudos as well to Hermes for finding time to spread the word. Artisans are people too!

    importeyedea.blogspot.com

  • The Provoker

    awesome, loves this and what a coincidence, in my most recent outfit post I wore vintage Westwood Melissa shoes with wings on the ankles so I joked about how I look like Hermes, the god not the label then again, I do want to be both!

    xx nathan.niche
    http://www.the-provoker.com/2012/09/frisky-fresco.html

  • Asdf

    You misspelled “Work”!!

  • Reptilia

    Wow, tha’is amazing! I really like learning about the procces of creation of this kind ob pieces!

    http://www.justreptilia.com

    xx

  • Natalie Ast

    This is a great post! I admire all the workmanship that goes into creating a genuine Hermes product. I have a couple scarves and they are so treasured! Thanks for sharing these pictures http://natalieast.com

  • Bb de la Branche

    Beautiful post ! So lucky to have seen it… Hermès is my favorite luxe house far from the others… its a beautiful job

  • MyWhiteList

    Loving this!!! It’s so nice to get a ‘behind the scenes’ on one of the world’s most iconic brands.

  • info

    I love that they can put some faces to the products. Knowing that someone has their hands on each piece and isn’t being paid slave wages for their work is pretty much unheard of now.

    Bisous
    Suzanne

  • Liz

    that is amazing!! I love hermes! I read the book Bringing Home the Birkin! It’s amazing and hilarious! You should read it!

    http://lavieenliz.com

  • Kate Block

    Very interesting! Love the pics.

    http://www.louiseandcostyle.blogspot.com

  • monkeyshines

    inspiring captures!

    Bises,
    monkeyshines
    http://monkeyshines-monkeyshines.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.facebook.com/marina.casapu Marina Casapu

    No wonder the brand is so expensive!
    http://www.live-love-fashion.com

  • Lindsay

    How amazing to get a behind the scenes look! Great post!

  • brita

    wow, how cool! If I had anything Hermes, I’d appreciated it way more after this post. That must have been so neat to see how everything is made – I love shit like that!
    comininhot.wordpress.com

  • Sharon
  • Kate

    There is a similar concept for Loewe in Barcelona, museum-like to understand process/quality. 91 Passeig de Gracia

  • Lulukapoopoo

    I was lucky enough to find a beautiful (genuine) Hermes scarf from the ’70′s in a charity store for €2.. I stupidly threw it in to the washing machine before I realised exactly what it was. Luckily it survived. It’s the nicest thing I own.

  • http://twitter.com/far_and_wild Far and Wild Jewelry

    this makes me understand where elizabeth cline is coming from and is yet another great argument for quality over quantity. not to say that high fashion is always justified in its sky high pricing but there’s something to be said for the true craftsmanship that a knock off can never capture. and in this digital age it’s nice to know that there are some things, even if i can’t afford any of them, still being made by hand. basically what i’m getting at is, love this post!

    abigail
    http://www.farandwildjewelry.blogspot.com

  • Eva Kraaijeveld

    Very interesting to read and the photos are amazing! Fantastic post!

    http://www.creativityandchocolate.blogspot.com

  • sketch42b

    Oh holy awesome.

  • Amanda | Binks&Franny

    What a fabulous sneak peek inside the world of Hermès. Thanks so much for sharing. Am lucky enough to own a few pieces from the iconic French casa de fashion (some new, some vintage) and the quality is unmatched. Each is a work of art and something I truly cherish. So lovely to see the faces and people behind their creation. Kudos!!

    ~Amanda
    http://www.binksandfranny.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarai.flores.5855 Sarai Flores

    My goodness! This has been very insightful and very interesting. I would love for many, if not all, prominent designers to do this as well. Very nice pictures!

  • http://twitter.com/YayaGagaFashion Messamet serdane

    Ok ! Maybe the work done on things by professionals explains the expensiveness but some things are too much expensive. Sometimes, we just buy the brands and not the stuff !

    http://www.younglington.wordpress.com

  • http://twitter.com/ohjenb Jen Bass

    What an amazing and wonderful experience!!

  • StyleNonsense

    Saw Your Photos On Instagram, I Understand Why They’re The Mega Brand That They Are Today! Such Quality!
    http://StyleNonsense.blogspot.com

  • http://www.thankfifi.com/ thankfifi

    how incredible – I work in the textiles industry (on the pr/marketing side) and have a bit of an insight into what goes into creating a quality product – I think the majority of people don’t consider the true difference between quality vs price
    that being said, I wouldn’t have guessed at hermes time frames – how wonderful but then for them still to make a profit I must wonder how much these craftsmen are being paid…

    ♥ ThankFifi

  • Hannah

    The fact that everything is handmade like that is truly amazing to me. First of all, there is no way I would have the patience to spend four and a half hours making a handle! I mean, to be honest, I’m procrastinating on my history homework by writing this but oh well. Also, I don’t think I would ever trust myself to drink out of one of those gold painted glasses…

    -Hannah

    servinupstyle.blogspot.com

  • Steve Hall

    Thanks for covering this event. It’s a reminder of what creates true craftsmanship.

  • Jan Goode

    Thank you for covering this awesome event. I encourage everyone in the San Diego, San Francisco and Houston areas to see this in the coming weeks. http://www.its-all-goode.com

    • Jan Goode

      sorry, typo, san diego should be New York

  • Kait

    this is too cool

  • The Style Engineer
  • Farha

    This is amazing, I love how they show how a person is behind each piece!

    http://aaperception.blogspot.ca/

  • http://girllovescolor.blogspot.com/ Maya

    This explains a lot behind prices. I love seeing who is actually creating these products!
    I was just discussing Hermes Birkins with my dad, who doesn’t understand the price range. It’s extravagant, but it makes more sense given a post like this one.

    http://girllovescolor.blogspot.com/

  • PinkCheetahVintage
  • sarahh

    can i just say – the table the glasses are on?! mmmm aawwwwsum. x

  • anullita

    The fact that they are handmade and do not come from a third world country does not justify the outraeous price of these products. I mean, you can find a lot of products that are equally good in a much lower price that are still manufactured under a decent work environment. It’s just the way things used to be manufactured a 100 or so years ago and I bet they didn’t cost that much back then. It would be nice if we stopped being victims of marketing at some point and think for ourselves.