Icons of style: The Hermés scarf

It’s not so long ago- some 50 years or so-since Hermès was a little French company whose beautiful saddles, silk scarves and leather accessories were known mainly to a small group of sophisticated cognoscenti. Yet, these days, Hermès is one of a tiny band of golden elite brands whose lustre and allure is known and their products lusted after around the world. Its iconic products-the Kelly bag, the Chaine d’Ancre bracelet, its Calèche perfume, the Cape Cod watch and, most of all, its famous carré or silk scarf-are recognised around the world and the mere sight of one of its orange boxes sets the heart aflutter.

The world’s economies may be suffering, but Hermès sails serenely on, its sales and profits surging upwards. The brand has shown that there are always those who know, and are prepared to pay for, true quality. Much of this is down to the original guiding principles, laid down by the company’s founders, which focus on creativity and craftsmanship, rather than commercial gain.

But say the word Hermès, and what springs to mind is its most iconic product-the silk scarf. Never intended to be just an accessory, the first one was sold in 1937 and there have been more than 1,500 different designs since, some by in-house designers, others by notable artists, and a few, such as the hugely successful Brides de Gala, have been revived many times. All are made of the highest-quality woven silk twill with hand-finished rolled hems, and although the classic scarf is either 90cm (35½in) by 90cm or 70cm (27½in) by 70cm, there is now a version in a lighter summer silk that measures 140cm (55in) by 140cm.

Through the years, Hermès scarves adorned the necks, waists and heads of some of the world’s most iconic personalities, but, now, they’re being rediscovered by the young set, who, encouraged by enterprising Hermès pop-up shops-cum-workshops, find ever more enterprising ways to wear them. An Hermès scarf, you see, is, like diamonds, forever.

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