The Art of the Scarf

I have fallen head over heels with scarves.


I’ve always had a drawer with a jumble of scarves, but wearing one was usually an afterthought as I dashed out the door or when the wind was blowing and a layer was need between my neck and the elements.

But then I acquired the ne plus ultra of scarves: a Hermès carrè.

These days, I’m apt to select a scarf (from la collection), and then decide what to wear to coordinate with it. I now have a drawer organised with manic zeal with rows of silks rolled over tubes to prevent dreaded creases, and more than a few orange boxes lined up with a certain precision.


So what is it about that square of silk that is so special, and so seductive?

For starters, a scarf just happens to be one of the best accessories that a classic, black-centric wardrobe like mine can have. It transforms the most basic fashion staples into something instantly stylish, sophisticated, and lux, lux, urious. You can channel your inner Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Jackie O, Catherine Deneuve….they all famously wore Hermes scarves.


The point is, wear it with panache.


Hermès carrè (scarf), is more than a foulard you tie around your neck, your waist, your wrist, your head, or your handbag handle (according to Hermès there are 98 ways to tie a silk square). It is also a work of art painstakingly produced using artisan methods, making it one of the most meticulously-crafted accessories in the world. Some purchasers frame them and hang them on the wall as art.

Since the silk scarf made its debut in 1937, the House of Hermès has produced over 2,000 patterns by more that 150 artists. Each one has a title and is designed and signed by an independent artist. The company produces about 20 new and exquisite scarves every year from its ateliers in Lyon, France. It is purported that one is sold every 25 seconds, all over the world

Made of the highest quality (ultra-thick, ultra-soft) pure silk, each scarf is hand-silk-screened by a person, not a machine. Each individual colour requires a separate silk-screen and one scarf has an average of 27 distinct colours. This is an amazing art Hermès has mastered.


Beautiful modern Hermès carrè, Échec au Roi, (Checkmate),  by Benoît-Pierre Emery.


…depicts four chess pieces -knights- surrounding a baseless knight piece. Each chess piece is composed of numerous separate blocks of colour held together by lines and tangents to form the piece. The mathematical, architectural look of the piece is an allusion to the logical, strategy-based gameplay of chess. The scarf, with its refreshing mid-century look, is playful and versatile!   ~ 1stdibs


Issued in 2013.


Geometric motif, Navy Colourway.


100% Silk, Made In France,


The hand-stitched, hand-rolled hem, is called a Roulé. Exactly 15mm, hemmed on the right side of the scarf (as opposed to the Italian method, which is hemmed on the reverse).



SEE MY HERMES SCARF POSTS: Modern HermesVintage HermesFollies of the Sky; HUn Weekend dans l’Espace

HERMES ON LINE: Here; GET THE APP: Hermès Silk Knots

For Further InformationA Beginner’s Guide to Collecting Hermes Scarves

SEEN ON THE STREET IN PARIS in Blue Colourway  Paris Fashion Week Fall Winter 2014.

Photo: J'ai Perdu Ma Veste
Photo: J’ai Perdu Ma Veste

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Susan Written by:

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