I'm not sure when it was that I became truly aware of the world of luxury but when I did, I learned very quickly that luxury products felt better, lasted longer and true luxury is inherent to the craft of the product. It wasn't long before I happened upon the ultimate symbol of luxury craftsmanship - Hermes.
I know many PurseBlog readers are intimately familiar with the brand and many of you lucky ladies are the proud owners of a Birkin or Kelly bag. But who can claim that they've seen a Kelly made? Or that they've seen the intricate method for the creation of one of Hermes' iconic silk scarves? The Hermes Festival des Métiers passed through New York during Fashion Week and my fiancee and I ventured over to Park Avenue, had an up close and personal Martha Stewart sighting and we stepped into the elusive Hermes atelier.
The Hermes atelier in France might not be a destination many of us will ever get access to, so the brand brought the experience to American shores in honor of their 175th anniversary. The Festival des Métiers gives attendees the chance to witness firsthand the talent behind the creation of the iconic Kelly bag, to see the inner workings of Hermes timepieces, witness artisans silkscreening Hermes scarves and setting diamonds in a Collier de Chien.
Witnessing the talent and attention to detail was so impressive - the artisans train for years to get enough skill and experience to make products that actually end up on the shelves of an Hermes shop. I learned that a good number of the bags created are deemed 'imperfect' and are never even sold. Another tidbit: from the initial sketch to final print, the brightly colored Hermes scarves take two years to create. The inks used are made with proprietary recipes, utilizing traditional techniques.
Between the extreme attention to detail, amazing talent and the discrete and elegant craftsman, I finally get it. With Hermes, you aren't just buying into a brand or trend - you are buying a work of art. (Special thanks to the talented Noah Shulman for lending his photographic eye to PurseBlog.)
The Hermes Festival des Métiers is open in San Francisco now through September 24th, and travels to Houston from October 10-14th. For more information, visit Hermes.