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History of the Hermès Carré Scarf

04/11/2021

Inspired by an antique board game from its personal collection, Hermès designed what would be one of its iconic pieces emblematic to the French luxury house: the Hermès Carré scarf. A favorite among fashionable women throughout history from Jackie Kennedy-Onassis to Audrey Hepburn, the simple and sophisticated piece is a reflection of exquisite craftsmanship with meticulous attention to detail for each design, making it a staple addition to any wardrobe. Many are drawn to the colorful allure of each Carré scarf not only for its intricate design but for its durable quality. Carré scarves today are more versatile than ever before: worn as tube tops for hot summer days, or even as headscarves to keep warm during the winter season à la Queen Elizabeth, who is known to be a longstanding fan of the Hermès Carré scarf.

Many design iterations were created throughout the years from pop art to Bauhaus-inspired motifs. Yet Carré scarves still stand true to its design roots, with prints and patterns demonstrative to Hermès’ equestrian origins. A wearable work of art symbolic of timeless elegance, L’OFFICIEL delves into the rich and flamboyant history of the Hermès Carré scarf.

 

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At the height of Parisienne fashion in 1937, just 100 years after the French luxury house was founded, Robert Dumas, a member of the Hermès family, designed the first Carré scarf that he first called “Jeu des Omnibus et Dames Blanches” using woodblock. Made with pure Chinese silk, the colorful scarves Dumas produced drew the attention of many fashionable French women in high society for their intricate patterns and attention to detail. The silk used to make an Hermès scarf is derived from the cocoons of 250 Mulberry moths typically in a 90cm x 90cm size. To this day, the scarves are created in the same manner that they were first made 84 years ago: silkscreened by hand with the hems hand-stitched and hand-rolled, taking roughly six to 18 months to produce a single scarf. Each Carré design expresses the original equestrian motif and incorporating their own kaleidoscopic illustrations.

Over 2,000 designs have been created by Hermès since 1937, many of which become limited edition re-releases of old designs, and many have been completely phased out to make way for new designs, making each scarf a valuable investment piece.

Grace Kelly aboarding Aristotle Onassis’ yacht in Monaco harbor using an Hermès Carré scarf as a colorful arm sling after experiencing pain from a wasp sting.

Vintage Hermès scarves have become sought-after artifacts with its value increasing over time and popularity growing at a rapid pace. With an array of shapes and sizes from the Twilly, worn most notably as a Birkin or Kelly accessory, to rectangle shawls and traditional square shapes that many have framed as an art piece, Hermès scarves cater to a widespread fanbase of fashionable men and women, across younger and older generations, that regard the piece as an exquisite work of art with a diverse and rich history.

 

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From L’Officiel USA

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