NEW YORK — In slightly more time than it takes to give your clothes a wash and a spin, customers can transform an old Hermès scarf into a new one.
Hermès takes its scarves seriously — from the first silk version in 1837, to the popular 90 x 90 cm variety that for 76 years has been engraved, woven and printed in the Lyon region of France, scarves are not an afterthought. Hermès even has its own name for scarves — carré.
Altering an Hermès scarf would seem to be a no-no. That is, unless it’s done within the controlled environment and with the team of color specialists at Hermèsmatic, an orange-hued Laundromat pop-up shop that bowed Wednesday at 90 Gansevoort Street here and will operate through June 18 at 8 p.m.
Hermès is inviting customers to bring scarves they may have forgotten about or overlooked in their wardrobes to the pop-up, where experts will dip-dye one per customer free of charge. The resulting scarf will have a color-washed look reminiscent of a vintage garment.
Hermès is capitalizing on the popularity of vintage clothing and accessories, while using the activation to reconnect with existing clients and introduce new customers to the brand. By the way, vintage Hermès scarves on The Real Real sell for around $250 to $400.
Clients can choose to dye their scarves pink, purple or denim blue. The dyes cover the lightest parts of a scarf. On a black scarf with small white flowers, for example, only the flowers will capture the color.
The entire process from washing to drying takes about two-and-a-half hours. A pre-wash cycle strips some of the coating off the silk; damp fabric takes dye better. Next, the dye cycle with salt ensures the color is saturated in the silk. That’s followed by a wash and rinse cycle to remove any excess dye. Finally, the scarf is ready to go into the drier.
Customers are invited to return in 48 hours to pick up their scarf. Any scarves that are dropped off on Sunday, the pop-up’s final day, will be shipped.
Orange is the operative shade at Hermèsmatic, with floors, chairs, full-length mirrors and washing machines the color of the brand’s boxes. Hundreds of boxes are printed with Hermès Wash, Dip Dye and Surteint, with the brand’s logo of a horse pulling a carriage, and are lined up on the wall. Hosts and hostesses wearing white jumpsuits are available for technical and sartorial assistance.
Hermes is using the pop-up to plant seeds for its 10,000-square-foot store at 46-48 Gansevoort Street, scheduled to open in spring 2019.
Hermèsmatic first launched in Paris in September 2016 and subsequently traveled to Geneva, Brussels and Basel. After New York City, the activation will be seen in Washington, D.C., July 20 to 26; Nashville, October 11 to 15, and Los Angeles, November 15 to 19.
In other Hermès news, the brand on June 4 unveiled a new 2,000-square-foot store at Iguatemi Mall in São Paulo, Brazil. Hermès also operates a store at Shopping Cidade Jamin in São Paulo, which bowed in 2009. Less than a year ago, it opened a unit in Rio de Janeiro. Hermès is the only tenant to occupy an entire block at Iguatemi Mall. Its white facade surrounded by four aisles gives it a unique “house” character reminiscent of South American architecture in the Sixties.
Designed by RDAI, with large glazed openings with perforated wooden panels that create the effect of shutters, the store is made from local materials such as Cabreuva wood for the furniture and decorative panels.
A wall inside the store delineates the ready-to-wear area from space dedicated to leather, saddlery, jewelry and watches. Silk scarves and home products are located near the entrance along with fragrance. Black-and-white mosaic floors are inspired by typical Portuguese craftsmanship, and there’s a kinetic sculpture made up of 180 yellow arms by French artist Zaven Paré. According to the artist, the radiant arms represent sunshine and the sculpture is an homage to Hermès craftsmen.