CULTURE DEFENDER: Hermès held a cocktail Tuesday at its Paris flagship on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré to celebrate the French premiere of “Hearts and Crafts,” a documentary that showcases the skilled craftspeople behind its luxurious handbags, silk scarves, saddles, jewelry and fine crystal ware.


The 47-minute film, directed by Frédéric Laffont and Isabelle Dupuy-Chavanat, was screened on the Sundance Channel on Sept. 10 and will go on general release in France next month. Hermès has dubbed 2011 the Year of the Contemporary Artisan and deputy chief executive officer Patrick Albaladejo defended their skills as resolutely modern. “They are not survivors, they are not the last of the Mohicans,” he told the audience at the Paris screening. “They herald a very human and vibrant future.” In related news, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, which supports cultural and philanthropic projects, announced the launch of New Settings, a program supporting work at the crossroads between theater and contemporary art.


The 2011 edition will consist of four pieces to be staged between Nov. 16 and 20 at the Théâtre de la Cité internationale in Paris.

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