Art on a Silk Square

Since a dear friend asked me why the Hermès scarf is so special. I would like to share something I know. The first Hermès scarf was produced in 1928, inspired by Napolean’s soldiers. It was a big success, Hermès later launched its first carré in 1937 at a factory in Lyon. This is the begin of a silk journey.

  1. each carré measures 90cm × 90cm, weighs 65 grams and is woven from the silk of 250 cocoons
  2. carrés are printed using multiple silk screens, one screen for each color
  3. 43 is the highest number of screens used
  4. 6 to 8 weeks are required to prepare for silk screens and colors
  5. the hems are all hand-stitched, it takes 30 to 45 minutes to finish one carré
  6. each design takes 9 to 12 months of research and development
  7. there are 50 carré designers, contributions also came from artists like H. Matisse and most recently J. Albers
  8. Hermès issues two carré collections each year. Half are new designs, half are re-colored classics

BTW, I store all my carrés in their orange boxes (wrapped in the original acid-free paper). Tagged their names and colors on the box so that I don’t need to open each box to find the right one. ;-)


  1. CashmereLibrarian
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I do the same with my scarf boxes! I don’t have the color (great idea!), but I list the name, the date I purchased it and the store location. Everytime I select a scarf to wear, I love thinking about the occasion on which I purchased it. I hope to have many more Hermes scarves, but I hope not to have too many to not appreciate how special they are!

  2. Elysium
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Did you use a label writer to make the labels? It really looks very convenient organizing in this way.

  3. streetwithnonmae
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    it is amazing that everyone owns different pieces and I have not seen a repeated one yet. :)

    As I told you the other day, I think (in a kinda snobby way, haha) that hermes scarves make people who wear them very special as if every piece has been designed and crafted especially for its master. :)

    By the way it seems you are very neat and organized. Just take a look at those orange boxes. I don’t have so many so it is not very hard to remember which one is in which box. Heehee…

  4. shaonian
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Wow, you took the pictures right after seeing my question?…. but the pictures are beautiful, really… Can feel your love ^_^

    I saw the other day a discussion about Chinese tea… about how there’s no big commercial brand over the international market. And a lot of people gave their thoughts. Actually Chinese teas got their names more from where they grow and so the brand name is not really a brand but the name of the location, and the tea from any good mill/village of that area is called by the same name… ( forgive my poor English … )

    What I meant by saying that is, don’t you think there’s lots of hypes going on about… somehow like a commercial game … They created in a way all those regulations and restrictions, to maintain their status; but I do agree some are about the quality control and design does make difference. But still…

    ( Hope you wouldn’t mind my inarticulate and totally uncivilized comment… :PPP )

  5. shaonian
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, the 3rd paragraph is over to Mr. Hermes.

  6. streetwithnonmae
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    I kind of agree with Shaonian’s comment on “commercial game”. Actually, chanel, louis vuitton… who isn’t on the game? ;) It will all depend on how customers perceive it.

  7. Elysium
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    The discussion about tea is quite interesting, basically there are no big commercial brands at all on the international market when it comes to traditional Chinese crafts, porcelain, jade, silk, tapestry, you name it. The ironic aspect is that at the same time many traditional crafts are dying with the old generation. There are a couple of brands (most of them from Taiwan) which try to establish themselves as exclusive brands, like Liuligongfang for instance, it will be interesting to see whether they can compete with European/American brands one day.

  8. Posted November 12, 2009 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Wow, so many lovely comments already. Thanks a lot gals, let me answer you guys one by one. :-D

    CashmereLibrarian, that’s very thoughtful and sweet to list the date and store location. I can imagine how you feel every time when you choose one. What a lovely idea, thanks for sharing.

    Elysium, I used some adhesive transparent films in A4 format(available at print shops). They can be printed with any normal printer. Then you just cut each name small and make them look like labels. :-)

    And thanks for the input about Chinese tea. We had so many great inventions and culture treasures. So sad…

    streetwithnonmae, I totally feel you~~ Each scarf I bought has a special meaning to me. This makes a scarf somehow connected to me. Isn’t it a subtle feeling? ;-)

    BTW, yes I am a very organized person. Learned from my mom. haha~~

    shaonian, yeah this is for you and thank god the weather today is very nice, so I took these photos. hehe~~ :-D

    I know what you mean, just like streetwithnonmae said, who’s not on the game? Hermes is extreme smart in this game, just think about their marketing strategy. hehe~~ It is true that every brand has its own culture and history, but how you sell them is another story. This is a commercial success, but commercial is not everything.

    You cannot be a no. 1 just by making great ADs or selling history. In the end, what really matters are the products themselves. The design, the craftsmanship, the expertise and the great customer service are keys to make Hermes one of the best.

    One example, Hermes used Chinese silk for their scarves at the very beginning. But years later they found out that the quality wasn’t that good anymore, so they changed to mulberry moth cocoons from Brazil. Because they only choose the best for their products. This is what I really love about Hermes, their products never let me down. And I like the fact that they are not just another brand in LVMH or PPR or Richemond. They are still Hermes. You know what I mean~~ ;-)

  9. Linda
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    The labels look great! If I will ever add on more scarves I will for sure label the scarf boxes in the same way!

  10. shaonian
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    OK, call me nationalist, but I’m kinda getting tired of those “westernized” commercial propagandas and games…

    Yes handmade is precious and design is unique, but the price is still ridiculous. Though I appreciate Hermes’ quality /design, still have difficulties to relate them to that price, ie, status.

    The Chinese tea is actually slightly different situation here( sorry, my bad~~~ ) , if you gals wanna read the discussion in details, here’s the link:

  11. shaonian
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I’m really sorry for being totally rude and sarcastic here… I know, I know… Forgive me bah :P

  12. Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Thanks Linda, have fun~~ :-D

  13. Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    shaonian, will take a look at the discussion. Thanks for the link. :-)

    In the case of Hermes, my point is they have great products, but even greater marketing. The bag, the waiting list, the price rise every year… You have to come up with something that make ppl buy it and keep buying. Ridiculous or not, that’s the way the game is played.

    BTW, I never considered about status when I buy something from Hermes. I am nobody and I don’t give a damn about status. haha~~ Many of their designs are my cup of tea and I appreciate good craftsmanship and great service, that’s it. ;-)

    P.S. no need to apologize ha, everybody has right to speak out loud, xixi… I am not mad at you at all. And I know, this is a mad world… see my blog title? heihei~~

  14. Elysium
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the description, I will try it when I have got a few more scarves.

    I think the difficulties for Chinese tea have two origin, as people has already pointed out in the thread. The first is lack of quality control, the second is foreign people simply do not like pure green tea as much as Chinese.

  15. afterglow
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Permalink


    I remember you showed disapproval on Hermes marketing strategy and sky-high price in one of your old blog entries.. I somehow perceived back then you thought this game was wrong. I am curious to know how you have adjusted your previous thought, and have let this marketing game justified to you, therefore now you are a fan?

  16. afterglow
    Posted November 13, 2009 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I love Hermes leather goods, but do not find their price justifiable. I’m sorry if my comment above sounded serious :)

  17. Posted November 13, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Elysium, you are welcome. And what a nice summery of that discussion. :-)

    afterglow, gosh I have to go back to my old blog to have a look what I’ve written. ;-)

    In my old blog, I doubted if it was a right decision to raise the price back then because of the financial crisis. Being a consumer, I will never be a fan of their marketing game. I hate their price increases every year, lol~~

    And in my comment above I just stated the fact that that’s the way the game is played. Since now we all know they rose the price despite the bad economy and now the sales are good. Like it or not, it doesn’t change the fact. The truth is there are enough rich who spend a fortune without considering whether it is justifiable and there are even more who want to buy something just because it is the most expensive. My 2 cents~~

    For me, as I’ve said last time, I just become more picky in terms of buying new goodies. That’s why I decided to pass on the carré book.

  18. Posted November 13, 2009 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    BTW, it’s Friday. Have a nice weekend everyone! :-D

  19. shaonian
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Yeah, have a good weekend~~~~ everyone ^_^

    As for the Chinese tea discussion, that report from some british newspaper totally threw me up. I just don’t understand why everything has to be filed up under the western system — not having big international names doesn’t make it less in value. I mean it shouldn’t be something to criticize considering everything runs slightly in a different way in another culture. Maybe it is just that western system that’s not working…
    OK, I’ll stop. Full stop.

  20. Sleeper
    Posted November 14, 2009 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    what an interesting discussion here. I work in the industry where fairy tales are sold with ridiculous price. Poeple are not falling only for the products or quanlity, but they are druged by the story, to be precise the marketing story behind.
    A solid convincing amazing product does not sell itself just like finger flip. Each has his own way to fight his own way out in the luxury industry.
    Anyway, knowing the jaw dropping prices, I am still victim. whom am i kidding. Facing beatutiful stuff, we are not supposed to hold on to our sanity.

    Btw, beautiful scarfs and great idea. I shall start thinking using the labels as well. All my scarfs are in a good mess. Feel sorry for them.

    Nice weekend.

    ps, I was at JM for HM. got a pair of shoes I love.

  21. Posted November 15, 2009 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Dear Sleeper, thank you for chiming in and sharing your insider knowledge. :-D I couldn’t agree more with what you said. And love the part that we are all weak when facing these beautiful products, so true~~

    Which shoes did you get? I actually like the clutch in zebra print but was too lazy to get up earlier. ;-)

  22. Rodoadhequeld
    Posted January 30, 2010 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Very nice Blog, I will tell my friends about it.


  23. unimonster
    Posted February 21, 2010 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Wow!! I am happy that I found Hermes scarf lovers. I wish I can show you my collection and see yours.