The Mark of Marque
The recent Hermès Heritage in Motion in Mumbai gave a glimpse into the French luxury brand’s illustrious history and design inspiration
A 1926 print advertisement of a man standing tall on a flying trunk, illustrated by French poster artist and fashion designer Georges Lepape, perfectly captures the essence of Hermès, a brand that set out to provide utmost comfort at the turn of the 19th century.
Or a pair of 1934-dated Inversable, eight spill-proof glasses for sailing. Or Hurricane, a storm-resistant pipe from 1956. These and more such pieces were part of the Hermes Heritage in Motion, a recent exhibition in Mumbai that offered a glimpse into the French luxury brand’s illustrious history and design inspirations.
Dotted across the ice factory-turned-art space, IF.BE, the brand put on display a mix of objects such as a carriage, trunks, shoes, bags and photographs, spanning the 1800s to recent times. All of these illustrate the brand’s evolution since its inception when harness-maker Thierry Hermès opened his studio at rue Basse-du-Rempart in Paris.
“Hermès came into being at a historical time when modern life was gathering pace when men and women wanted nothing more than to move with ease in a bustling and increasingly mobile world,” says Marie-Amelie Tharaud, director of the Hermes Conservatory of Creations.
“In Motion showcases objects that carry within them the desire to take off, to go elsewhere and roam,” she adds.
One of the highlights of the exhibition was the Émile Hermes Travels collection. Émile was a third-generation president of the brand, known for acquiring rare, unique objects, which continue to inspire Hermes designs even today. The most interesting of which was an early 20th-century whisky flask that looked like a camera.
A great tool of deception, visitors could scan a QR code from the available iPads at the exhibition, and see how it functioned. Drops of whisky are poured into the camera, and once consumed, the liquid level depletes, visible from the lens.
On display from recent times was a pair of 2018 roller skates with a sneaker in calfskin and skated sole in maple. This was accompanied by a skateboard made of beechwood and maple veneer, designed by Italian artist Gianpaolo Pagni.
The 2015 Le Flâneur town bike, reflective of the new mobility needs of modern cities, which Hermès says has one of the lightest 21st-century steds, was also part of the showcase.