It seems impossible on such a sunny day in Milano that tomorrow we will have a heavy snowfall. Sitting at my desk with the sunlight shifting across the window, I enjoy opening my new Hermès box with the Comme des Garçons dots on it, a collaboration between two of the most “worshipped” brands in the fashion world. The new moon of the Chinese New Year today is supposed to be a time to plant the seeds of growth. Hermès orange, like the sun, and the fresh surprises of Comme des Garçons are a beautiful present to start off the new beginnings for Year of the Snake,

in spite of the snows!

An event on Thursday in Paris at the Comme des Garçons store

in Faubourg St. Honorè launched this unique collaboration. The mannequins covered in a patchwork of silk scarves were stunning.  The series is called “Black and White Collection”, and show Rei Kawakubo’s strong interpretation of aspects of Hermès own very recognizable iconography, in five printed scarves.

 

 

Which one to choose among the five new designs on display at the opening?

So hard to decide, but being Italian, The Pegasus inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci

has of course attracted my eye.

 This divine winged horse was rendered by French sculptor Christian Renonciat for Hermès and is here re imagined by Comme des Garçons. The symbolism of power, wisdom and the solar myth is framed within the writing of Leonardo himself.

 

The collaboration with Hermès started with the Black and White Collection presented in Paris last week.  Another Color Collection with an additional five designs, also in a limited edition, has just been presented in the Comme des Garçons store Aoyama Tokyo. Kawakubo has added her signature images of Comme des Garçons – polka dots, a black chessboard – and abstract images as well,  to bring a new visual identity not seen at Hermès before now.

 

Since 1937, the Hermès scarf has been a signature of the Maison and many artists have contributed to their designs.  Pierre-Alexis Dumas has started “Hermès Editeur”, a project  “In order to keep moving with the times, to stay refreshing and surprising, the Hermès scarf had to become a meeting point between forms, a place where art could express itself freely and fully.”  Hermès has collaborated with the artist Daniel Buren on  the “Photos – Souvenirs au carré”  scarves presented in Paris at “la Monnaie” museum that Buren did, using an ink jet printing technique on silk, new to the Hermès atelier.

 

Hermès’ famed square scarves, the “carrés”  began a fine art series several years ago with a memorial edition of the designs of Josef Albers, known for his squares and his elegant color theories.  Since then, two other artists have been so honored – Daniel Buren and Hiroshi Sugimoto. Here, several of the 140 scarves of Sugimoto’s Polaroid photographs taken over a period of ten years using prisms to fracture the light in a darkened room, as Isaac Newton had done to reveal the original color spectrum.

 

 

Here, a square of Alexander Calder, done in 1947 for the visionary Czech textile manufacturer Zika Ascher. For many years Ascher London edited and printed artists’ scarves. No one took particular notice of them in the art world. Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Calder and Matisse participated in this unusual collaboration.

In 2011, an Ascher scarf by Henri Matisse, produced in a limited run of 30, was sold for £ 3 million at Christies.

In 1974, Calder made this gouache on paper with a wonderful green snake floating above primary objects like the circle, the triangle and the square (under the triangle, like the pyramid!), and primary colors of red, yellow and blue, with the yin yang symbol.

 

Snakes have inspired many artists and designers because of their wonderful, fluid movements, and that they are good luck.  Here a Calder necklace, one of the many pieces of stunning jewelery he made – mostly for his wife.

 

 

 

Waking up this morning to this snake symbol to begin the celebrations for tonight’s Chinese New Year’s Eve! This is the longest holiday in Asia, and for several days people visit and share – friends and family gathering together. Today lanterns, paintings, good-luck phrases, firecrackers and Lion dances will happen in celebrations around the world.

 

 

Posted on: Sunday, February 10th, 2013

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