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​​​​​​​​​​​​By: Allison Dolder McDonald

Allison McDonald lives in Newport Beach, California with her husband Ben and their dog Clementine. As a Miami University graduate originally from Columbus, Ohio, she's retained a healthy dose of Midwestern prep, with a little big-city edge that came from living in Chicago for three years post-grad. Allison is the co-founder of Tartan & Sequins, the lifestyle blog/love child of two California girls who share a passion for all things preppy and fabulous. 

​“It has been said of Hermès,” The New York Times reported in 1940, “that it is perhaps the only establishment in the world in which one cannot buy a single article that is not in perfect taste.”(1) 

The Hermés scarf is a luxury item for the ages, to be sure. Whether it’s given as a graduation gift, presented with much fanfare by a significant other, passed down from a beloved Grandmother, or purchased for oneself, it has the power to make the wearer feel unspeakably chic.

Hermés marked its hundred-year anniversary in 1937 with the introduction of the scarf, which was borne of Hermés racing silks.1 Since its debut, the Hermés carré has been a staple in the wardrobes of women whose names are synonymous with good taste. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Audrey Hepburn were often seen wearing their Hermés silk squares as glamorous kerchiefs, shielding their lovely brunette locks. Grace Kelly, another enduring scion of impeccable fashion sense, was seldom without something from Hermés on her person. After discovering Hermés while trousseau shopping in Paris with famed MGM costume designer Edith Head, Princess Grace was so devoted to the French fashion house’s scarves that upon suffering a broken arm in the late 1950’s, she fashioned a trés chic sling out of an Hermés scarf.

At present, the fashion house issues two scarf collections per year – one for Spring/Summer and one for Fall/Winter – with approximately 12 new designs each season. In an incredibly labor intensive process, all Hermès scarves are hand-printed using multiple silk screens. It takes a studio of 20 freelance designers approximately nine to ten months for a final pattern to be created and approved, and then color testing requires another three months. The entire process from design to concept, engraving and printing, to the hand-finishing process takes approximately two and a half years and is the result of 300 hand-craftsmen and 500 technicians. 


​​Although the production process has remained relatively unchanged since 1937, Hermés consistently finds new ways to keep their scarves relevant to young tastemakers. In the 1980s, Hermés began producing highly coveted booklets detailing, “How to Wear Your Hermés scarf,” including as a halter-top, and as a chic carryall. Vogue took notice of the suggestions for fresh takes on a classic, and hailed 1985 as the “year when classic Hermès scarves have been showing up on trendy young women and worn as a definite fashion ‘item'.


Hermés scarves have continued to be a favorite accessory of pretty young things in recent years, thanks to cult fanzine followings of 2010’s J’aime mon carrè website, which documented the adventures of four girls from each corner of the world, and 2011’s Paris Mon Ami website, in which the four girls reunite in the French capital to style their Hermés enamel bangles and silk scarves. Also in 2011, the Hermés boutique on Madison Avenue in New York City introduced Life in Silk, a service which embroiders monograms, names, or messages up to 20 characters on the client’s choice from a number of iconic scarves.   


​​The Hermés scarf is truly the definition of an investment piece – a classic that can be worn with ease and grace at age 25 or age 75. The proud owner of a Hermés carré surely treasures both her silk square, and the delicious orange box in which it was first presented





 Fashion | ISSUE II


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