Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience MuseumHermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum

HERMÈS LEATHER FOREVER

25 October - 13 December 2015, Free Admission

Leather Forever celebrates Hermès’ relationship with leather, the first material tamed by the house. The exhibition takes visitors on a poetic journey exploring Hermès’ love of this fine material, presenting items from Hermès’ past as well as some of its latest creations.

Thanks for visiting, this exhibition has ended. Visit our What's On page for more upcoming exhibitions.

 

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Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum
Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum
Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum
Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum
Hermès Leather Forever - Craftsman at Work

 

At Hermès, leather has always been more than a material. It is a world, a language that speaks to and inspires the five senses. Grain and flesh: the words speak volumes. Leather has its textures and perfumes. Its colours. It looks beautiful. It smells good. Tanned, dyed, cut, assembled, stitched, patinated, polished – it sings when it is crafted and when it is caressed. It has presence. Transforming, refining, embellishing and blending it with other materials, giving it multiple appearances, shaping it to clients’ desires, letting it live lives that may be adventurous or discreet: that is the Hermès passion.

To relate and share this passion, the house has conceived Leather Forever, a travelling exhibition that is now calling in at ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Hermès was founded by Thierry Hermès in Paris in 1837, as a house of master harness, and later, saddle makers. It is by handling the finest leathers — chosen, cut, sewn and polished with expert skill – that six generations of enterprising craftsmen have learned and passed on the values that inspire Hermes’ dynamism: attachment to quality, perfectionism (even in hidden details), and respect for time, all conjoined with creative verve.  

We hope visitors will enjoy this playful evocation of the relationship between Hermes and leather, a tale with many a twist yet to come. Behind the fun and games, though, they may also find some simple, profound answers to that desire for things of lasting worth, a desire that is so powerfully resonant in this new century.

The Horse The First Client: Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum
Time Savers: Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum
The Horse The First Client: Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum
Savoir Faire: Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum
The Spirit of the Nomad: Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum
Discretion and Simplicity: Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum
On the Beltway: Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum
Variations on Kelly and Birkin: Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum
When Dreams Become Reality: Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum
The Patina of Time: Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum
Star Bags: Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum

Rooms 1 & 2: Savoir Faire

At Hermès, material reigns supreme. The tanner selects the skins, the cutter “reads” the leather, the saddle-maker/leather-worker fashions the object from start to finish, infuses it with life, emotional presence. He or she sews with a single, waxed linen thread and two needles – saddle stitch – then presses, shines, buffs, polishes. Each piece is signed. It is unique.

Room 3: Time Savers

Time mastered is an ally. A watch, a diary, a memorandum — these are precious companions, vital to bring time on one’s side.

Room 4: The Horse, The First Client

It all started with the horse and for the horse. One hundred and seventy-eight years later, as the inspiration for so many Hermès objects, it is lavished with attention. Saddles, all manner of riding equipment – only the best is good enough.

Room 5: The Spirit of the Nomad

Leaving, going on the road, travelling in every latitude with the necessary and – why not? – the superfluous. Trunks and bags are an invitation to travel.

Room 6: Discretion and Simplicity

And what if the greatest virtue was the ability to go unnoticed? Getting rid of the superfluous and keeping only the essential? Simplicity as self-evident.

Room 7: Fasteners or Beauty Spots?

Marvels of ingenuity and technical trickery, its mechanism hidden or laid bare like a jewel, the fastener is the magic sesame of every bag.

Room 8: On the Beltway

Where the saddle-maker’s art meets contemporary form, belts are in a process of constant reinvention. The garments had better keep up.

Room 9: Variations on Kelly and Birkin

Two bags. Two legends.

Both were born under a muse’s inspiration. World famous, immediately recognisable, soon both were inspirations in their own right. Clients, both famous and discreet, wanted “the same, but different”, and added their own personal touch. Artists have played a thousand variations on these two themes. The poets and composers of leather and colour have come up with endless incarnations. Miniaturised. Coloured. Outsize. Historiated. Married. Crossover. Amused. Punk. Jazz. Folk. Rock. Baroque. 


Room 10: When Dreams Become Reality

To invent what doesn’t exist, you need to dream. At Hermès, the wildest desires are the worthiest challenges. The solution may take some finding.

Room 11: The Patina of Time

Fine leather is a living material: it never grows old, only gaining in beauty from the touch of its user and character from the passing of time.

Room 12: Star Bags

To celebrate the exhibition, Hermès has created five unique bags in honour of each decade of Singapore’s independence. They are inspired by the Kellydoll (quelle idole!, what an idol!), a bag conceived in 1999 by Jean-Louis Dumas, then at the head of the house. A cartoon bag, a miniature doll’s bag that smiles, opens wide its twinkling eyes, wrinkles its clasp of a nose and joyfully holds out its arms. A Kelly-shaped smiley. As play and pefectionism go hand in glove here, Hermès saddle-leatherworkers and silversmiths outdid each other in ingenuity so as to perfectly preserve the proportions of the Kelly and to identically reproduce every last detail. In a homage to the refinement of the gardens of Singapore, these jovial Kellydolls are dressed in the most precious skins and some are also adorned with delicate embroidery. 

Film Screening: Hearts and Crafts

“Hearts and Crafts” is a documentary that pays tribute to the artisans of the numerous Hermès métiers.

Directors Frédéric Laffont and Isabelle Dupuy-Chavanat shine a light on the men and women who bring the house's objects to life. In the four corners of France, from Paris to the Ardennes, from the Lyonnais to Lorraine, they opened the doors of the house's workshops to lift the veil on those who master the gestures and the savoir-faire of the saddler, the leather craftsperson, the crystal and glassmaker, the jeweller…

Laffont and Dupuy-Chavanat have captured the sounds of leather and crystal, the song of silk and metal, the words of the men and women and also their silences. In their cinematic testimonial they have brought together these sparks of life, enthusiasm, pride and passion, as each craftsperson assembles a handbag or a piece of jewellery. Step by step. Meticulously. With passion and respect, in the quest for excellence.

View the film stills and teaser below.

Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum
Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum
Hermès Leather Forever exhibition at ArtScience Museum
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