In the vein of fashion as museum art, Hermès has conceived a series of touring “Hermès Heritage” exhibitions, the first of which is titled “Harnessing the Roots” and will touch down at the house’s Beverly Hills boutique on March 31. A specially built structure behind the Rodeo Drive flagship will house the multiroom show until April 7.
The exhibits explore the history and heritage of the house, which was founded in 1837 by Thierry Hermès, through a series of objects that highlight iconic themes, colors and motifs from the brand’s origins as a harness-maker and saddler up to the present day.
The creations highlighted in the exhibition include objects and curios sourced from the personal collection of Emile Hermès collection; the house’s archive, and its contemporary fashion, lifestyle and accessories lines. The objects are complemented by documentary archives and a film from 1962 in which Robert Dumas, heir and director of Hermès from 1951 to 1978, explains the art of saddle-making.
“Harnessing the Roots” is designed by Bruno Gaudichon, the curator of “La Piscine” Museum of Art and Industry in Roubaix, France, who worked with scenographer Laurence Fontaine. Together, they decided to arrange the objects by theme rather than chronology, focusing on harnesses and their metamorphoses.
The five themes are Brides de Gala, Le cheval et son habit, Le motif de la selle, En boucles and Lanières, which translates roughly to bridles, riding habits, saddles, clothes and accessories.
“Harnessing the Roots” made its debut in Shanghai last year and Beverly Hills will be its only stop in the U.S. for 2018. A private preview is planned for March 30 ahead of its opening. Customers in the store will be able to unearth various clues leading to surprises in the exhibit, which is free and open to the public.