One can only speculate whether Hermès founder, Thierry Hermès, ever dreamed his modest bridle and harness shop would one day meteorite into one of the world's finest fashion houses famed as much for its ready-to-wear, fine leather goods, and luxe accessories as for its star-studded and couture-loving clientele.
Nearly 175 years after its humble debut, Hermès kicks off its first-ever traveling Festival des Métiers ("Festival of Crafts") which will visit Chicago from Friday, March 11 to Wednesday, March 16. Admission is free and attendees have the unique opportunity to meet and mingle with master craftsmen and women who will be on hand to demonstrate how to make everything from silk scarves and patterned ties to saddles and handbags.
Etching screens for scarves
Initial stages of a scarf
Saddle maker at work
Designing glorious neckwear
Fun factoid: In 1956, Life magazine ran a photo of Princess Grace Kelly carrying the sac a courroie pour dames ("bag with straps for ladies") which she used to shield her baby bump from paparazzi. Originally designed in the 1930s by Robert Dumas, Hermès renamed it the "Kelly" bag and it remains, to this day, one of the most iconic handbags in history.
Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, and Princess Grace Kelly with her eponymously-named handbag
Hermès is located at25 E. Oak Street. 312-787-8175
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