« Don’t throw that out, it may come in handy! » Such is the motto of Pascale Mussard, descendant of founder Thierry Hermès and muse of « Petit h », the latest ephemeral line that Hermès showcased in New York City this November before heading back to Paris until the end of the year.
At a time when upcycling is on the rise, we decided to further explore this special collection and went to see for ourselves the pieces featured in the NYC edition at the flagship store on Madison Avenue.
Here are in a nutshell the key highlights of the New York City venue.
Meet us in Paris next month to discover « Petit h »’s last opus of year 2011._
Welcome to the poetic world of « Petit h » where beauty and fantasy rhyme with reuse and (re)creation!
When she was a child, Pascale Mussard spent entire afternoons watching the saddler and leather-goods craftsmen working with precious leathers in the House’s workshops. At the end of each day, the craftsmen making handbags would bring their leftovers to the artisans making watch bracelets and belts. All scraps were kept and reused. Pascale Mussard created « Petit h », building on the House’s propensity to recycle and drawing inspiration from her grand-mother, Aline Hermès, who used workshop leftovers to dress up her gowns.
The key word – « (re)creation » – sums up well the facetious spirit that lies beneath this line of « unidentified fanciful objects » (UFO for connoisseurs). « Petit h »’s goal : imagine new objects using discarded materials and other workshop leftovers. To accomplish this mission of salvation, Pascale Mussard toured all the Hermès workshops – from the crystal manufacture, to the china, leather and silk workshops – hunting for flawed objects, unsuitable for sale as well as for offcuts of precious silk fabrics and leathers.
Half workshop, half laboratory « Petit h » invites designers (among which Gilles Jonemann, Christian Astuguevieille and Alice Cozon) to come enjoy these materials saved from the landfill and give them a second life by working hand in hand with Hermès’s craftsmen. Neither toys, nor art objects, the pieces created are intended to be either decorative or functional but also playful and long-lasting.
Since the collection launched three years ago, more than 3,000 unique pieces or limited-edition objects have come out of this creative lab. And there are objects suited for all budgets, with prices ranging from $40 for a leather charm to $100,000 for the giant panda.
In the end, the magic behind this collection lies in the designers and craftsmen’s ability to preserve the elegant spirit of the Hermès House with a capital H, while creating unexpected and quirky objects that surprise both by the mix of materials used to make them and their intended use. Here are a few snapshots of the key pieces shown in New York in November :
There’s nothing else to add … Except maybe that « Petit h » has not much to envy to its elder sister with a capital H.
An entirely new set of « Petit h » objects will be available from December 8 to December 31, 2011 at Hermès’s Parisian boutique nested in the former interior pool of the very chic Hotel Lutetia: 17, rue de Sèvres, 75006, Paris, FRANCE.
Among the attractions, the new-born of the Hermès menagerie – a giant giraffe! – and many more UFOs…
You can also watch the video made by Hermès, which explains the philosophy of « Petit h » through the story of a damaged china cup. Enjoy !
NB: Thumbnail photo © Hermès