PARIS — It’s a collection made from leftovers — very preciousleftovers. Petit h, the Hermès little sister line founded by the luxuryhouse’s creative director Pascale Mussard in 2010, on Thursday opened apermanent space in Hermès’ Left Bank boutique on the Rue de Sèvres here.
A modular system of wooden cleats and brackets inspired by thehouse’s well-known mosaic patterns greets visitors at the store’sentrance. Thought up by creative agency RDAI, they can be individuallyadjusted to hang up, put down or attach objects, depending on their formand function “because I never know what I am going to work withtomorrow,” Mussard explained, while giving WWD a private tour of the newpremises.
Mussard, who represents the Hermès family’s sixthgeneration, said she always collected and amassed, explaining: “I had ahard time throwing things away as a child.” Now, she wanders dailythrough the house’s ateliers and picks up “whatever has fallen off thetable.”
What she gets her hands on, “It can be a scrap ofcrocodile leather or a faulty silk carré,” will find a second life in arange of objects that blend the French house’s savoir-faire and anoutside designer’s imagination.
Mussard does not like the wordrecycling. “I’m more at ease with the term up-cycling, or evenre-creation and renaissance. Recycling often implies that it’s justfixed up, while Petit h follows the rules of art and innovation. Andit’s really unique; there are not many maisons in the world that combinethis number of artisans under one roof. My idea was to bring them alltogether, because they never communicate among each other, and to havethem look at their craft differently from an outsider’s perspective.”
Thirtyinternational artists participated in the creation of the currentcollection, which has 2,000 to 2,500 pieces. New objects will beregularly added.
From the silk dye colorist to the leathercutter, all skills are put to the test. “This project is a creativeexchange,” explained Mussard, enthusing about the example of anultralight necklace made from a damaged silk scarf. “The silk had astain, so we cut it. Then Godefroy de Virieu, one of the artists wecollaborated with, had the idea to turn it into a collier. He took it toour plisseur, who said it was impossible, that it would never work. ButGodefroy insisted and together they found a way.”
The necklacewas pressed on a ribbed rubber hose “like a French waffle” to achievethe pleated effect, and now ranks among the line’s bestsellers, pricedat 145 euros, or $190 at current exchange.
The Petit h objectsrange from sculptural to functional. There is a chest of drawers thoughtup by French artist Christian Astuguevieille out of Rocabar, thehouse’s iconic textile, featuring handles that were taken from Hermèsbriefcases. Its price is 41,000 euros, or $53,883.
Broken piecesof the house’s precious porcelain plates served as image-makers forcrocodile skin-clad kaleidoscopes, which go for 2,600 euros, or $3,416,and necklaces (780 euros, or $10,250); leftovers from the chevronleather maker’s table were transformed into postcards, which are pricedat 80 euros, or $105, while some larger scraps of orange crocodile skinclad a cuckoo clock that whinnies every 30 minutes. “After all, we’rechez Hermès, and our roots are in equestrian,” said Mussard.
Oneof the most imposing pieces is a leather sculpture thought up by Dutchartist Marjolijn Mandersloot portraying a life-size couple of lionessesfor 75,000 euros, or $98,566.
In addition to the new space,Petit h will continue to be sold via traveling sales, which will takeplace twice yearly, the house confirmed. The next one will be inSingapore in July, followed by London at the end of the year.
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