why are hermes scarves so expensive

Why are hermes scarves so expensive? What makes hermes scarves so expensive? Why is hermes scarf so expensive? What is the hermes scarf price range? keep reading…

The most complex Hermès scarves, featuring Native American motifs, have in excess of 140 colours. After a detailed colour drawing is prepared, each silk twill (most commonly used silk in these scarves) scarf is screen printed with one colour at a time, a process that requires making as many frames as there are colours in a pattern and as many serial steps as there are colours in the pattern. The colours are then fixed so as not to run in the rain or due to contact with water although the advice remains to protect the scarves from rain.

If a trip to see the scarves being made in Lyon isn’t possible, the next visit of Hermès’s Festival des Métiers exhibition to your town, should you be so fortunate, is worth visiting.

The question to ask therefore is not why they are so expensive but “why aren’t some of the scarves with more complex designs sold at a much higher price than those with two colour patterns?” The answer to that would be that scarves are the signature product of Hermès, that are always sold at a relatively affordable price and are never sold on a discounted price, no matter what. In a way the complex patterned scarves are probably being cross subsidised by the simpler patterned scarves.

Why Are Hermes Scarves So Expensive

Why Hermes Scarf for a Rich Girl?

What is so special about Hermes scarves? Why so many girls from all around the world go crazy about them? Royalty such as Queen Elizabeth II and Grace Kelly and celebrities: Sarah Jessica Parker, Hillary Clinton, Mariah Carey, Elle McPherson, Madonna, Oprah Winfrey to name just a few wear them, why? What is the secret behind a simple square of silk which costs around $400 per piece?

I asked myself these questions for a long time and after browsing the Internet, checking out a lot of Hermes scarf designs, I finally know all the answers.

History and Interesting Facts About Hermes Scarf

Hermes scarves are the most popular product category of the brand. Scarves are made with pure silk of the highest quality, and the color is not printed on by a machine but the silk is screened by an actual human being, hand-printed by Hermes professionals who have to apply up to forty three silk screens to achieve the effect. One screen is for one color of the scarf. The motives on the scarves are so unique and beautiful, that some people collect Hermes scarves and even frame them and put on walls like pieces of art.

Hermes now sells a scarf, whose fabric is designed to leave a scent on the skin when wearing. The fragrance is supposed to fade not before at least five washings of the scarf. How cool is that?! You can actually save money on perfume 🙂 just kidding.

Since the first scarf made its debut in 1937, the House of Hermès has produced more than two thousand different designs and the sales are growing each year! Two scarf collections are released every year, along with reprints of older designs and limited editions.

Best Book About Hermes Scarves

If you want to know more about Hermes scarves, you can buy the book called The Hermes Scarf: History & Mystique. The book tells the history of Hermes scarf and reveals the technology of its production as well as shows multiple designs and ways of wearing the scarf.

There is also an iTunes application created by Hermes called: Hermès Silk Knots – Hermès This app will show you how to tie 6 different knots using step by step videos, find out everything about the Hermès Silk, browse a selection of scarves and more. Every season there will be new series of knots added to the app. Sounds fun, right?

I hope that you now also understand why the Hermès scarf is a style icon and the stuff of a legend. If you need more convincing, just check out my selection of the best Hermes scarves that are now available for purchase online. These are some of my favorite Hermes scarf designs (picture is clickable):

My Story of Buying Hermes Scarf in Paris

I want to share my own story about buying a Hermes scarf. During my first trip to Paris (which coincided with my birthday) I decided that I must visit Hermes boutique and buy my first legendary Hermes scarf from their flagship boutique on the Faubourg Saint-Honoré street. Thought it will be the experience of a lifetime for me. Imagined how I enter the magical, quiet and sleepy kingdom of luxe and treated like a queen, while choosing from the numerous amazing scarves. You can’t believe my shock and frustration, when I entered Hermes boutique.

Crowds of women screaming and shouting, almost fighting over the scarves, each holding about 5-6 pieces. Numerous sales people, at least 15, who were all busy serving customers, running around and offering different designs. It all seemed like a crowded and screaming market, something I least expected to experience in a luxurious boutique. Of course, the boutique itself was amazing, huge and tastefully decorated, full of expensive handbags and other famous Hermes goods, but I just couldn’t expect to see such a fuss about the scarves.

Hermes Scarf Sold Every 20 Second!

Now I know (thanks to Wikipedia) that during holiday season one Hermes scarf is sold every 20 seconds!! I guess that I am not the only girl who thinks that bringing Hermes scarf as a souvenir from Paris is a great idea.

I didn’t buy a scarf that time, because I didn’t want to buy something which cost around $400 in a hurry and fuss. To tell you the truth, I still haven’t got the Hermes scarf after what I have experienced.

But, I will definitely buy at least one after I conducted this research on Hermes scarves. I fell in love with the different amazing motives and who knows, maybe one day I will also become crazy collector, whose walls will be covered with the framed Hermes scarves. Who knows. One step at a time, right?! 🙂

What about you, girls? Do you own a Hermes scarf? Are you planning to buy one in the nearest future? Please, leave your stories of Hermes scarves in the comments below 🙂 I would love to hear from you and possibly see a photo!

The First Hermès Silk Scarf

Founded in 1837, the French luxury house Hermès was established as a bridle and harness company for equestrian pursuits. In 1937 – one hundred years later – the design for the first Hermès scarf was born. The scarf or carré, meaning “square” in French, was based on a woodblock print by Robert Dumas, a member of the Hermès family. The scarf was made with raw silk from China, which was spun into yarn before it was woven into fabric and screen-printed.hermes scarf

Hermes ‘Vif Argent’ silk scarf, designed in 2007 by Dimitri Rybaltchenko. Sold for £180 via Chiswick Auctions (May 2017).

The carré has proven its power to transcend age and to appeal to a diverse range of wearers. Famously adopted by 20th century icons from Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn to Queen Elizabeth II and Madonna, the scarf provides the wearer the versatility to adapt to any style and situation. Today, the Hermès scarf still proves to be an essential part of the contemporary wardrobe, popular with both young and older generations, and by men and women alike.

The Vintage Hermès Scarf

Since 1937, there have been up to 1,200 individual Hermès scarf designs created, with additional designs still being released on a seasonal basis. Even today, the timeless scarves are still produced in France in the same manner: silkscreened by hand with hems hand-rolled and hand-stitched. Taking up to six months to produce, this level of precision is reflected in the quality and cost of the scarves.

Hermès Festival des Amazones silk scarf, designed by Henri d’Origny. Sold for £120 via  Chiswick Auctions (October 2016).

Hermes Vintage Scarf Patterns

Often commemorative, designs can range from the more popular and classic motifs such as equestrian, military, and nautical, to the more playful botanical, natural, and mythological themes, to quirky and contemporary. Each one of the Hermès artists, who work freelance, are known for a particular style; artists such as Hugo Grygkar and Robert Dallet have achieved a highly collectable status. Other sought-after artists include Leigh Cook, Kermit Oliver, Zoé Pauwels, Leila Menchari, Annie Faivre, Laurence Bourthoumieux, and Eugene Brunelle.

“Springs” by Philippe Ledoux (left) and “Brides de Gala” by Hugo Grygkar (right), two of five Hermes scarves sold as one lot for £420 via Kerry Taylor Auctions (February 2018).

Contemporary Collaborations

In recent years, the luxury house has also successfully bridged craftsmanship with contemporary art through a series of collaborations, namely Gloria Petyar, N.S. Harsha, Ding Yi, Julio Le Parc, and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

“I prefer more adventurous and abstract designs by Zika Ascher – and these are becoming quite popular with contemporary art dealers. Their value at auction can vary, starting at around £200, but the most striking designs can sell for several hundreds if the bidding is competitive,” says Kerry Taylor, director and owner of Kerry Taylor Auctions and textile consultant to Sotheby’s. “Our highest achieved price was a bold monochrome printed Alexander Calder for Zika Ascher, ‘La Mer’ printed silk square, which sold for £1,400 (hammer price) in 2013.”

How to Buy a Hermès Scarf

Whether you are looking to start a collection as a future investment or are keen to make a worthy, classic addition to your wardrobe, Meg Randell, Designer Fashion and Handbags Specialist at Chiswick Auctions in London, offers some useful advice: seek out limited editions.

Hermès “Ispahan” silk scarf (detail) c. 1966, designed by Maurice Tranchant. Sold for £130 via Chiswick Auctions (December 2016).

“Hermès often re-releases popular scarf designs, but there are some that were only released once,” Randell explains. “The Ispahan scarf (pictured above) was first designed in 1966 by Maurice Tranchant and is particularly rare as this was the only issue of this scarf ever made. Scarves such as this are particularly sought after for this reason.”

How to Tell a Fake Hermès Scarf from the Real Thing

  1. As a measure of authenticity, the hand-rolled edge of a true Hermès scarf should be arrow-straight and beautifully finished. “Any scarves with machine stitching or messy stitching should not be trusted,” says Randell.
  2. Designs continue to be re-issued in numerous colors, which can make authentication more challenging. “The printed designs will be crisp and use bright colors,” Randell says. “Most scarves will have their title somewhere in the design, and often will feature the signature of the artist.”

Detail of edge of Hermes ‘Carpe Diem’ Silk Scarf, designed by Joachim Metz in 1994.

Hermès scarves are a great addition to a wardrobe, and can instantly add individuality to any style. They are also highly collectible and timeless, holding their value far better than any other scarves on the market.

Taylor advises, however, that if you are planning to collect them, buy at auction rather than retail, as you are likely to get a better price for even the most attractive prints by known designers. Be sure to seek out quality scarves in good condition, too. “Scarves in good condition, and those that come with their original boxes, tend to do best at auction as they make great gifts,” Randell adds.

How to Wear a Hermès Scarf

If you decide to wear your scarf, opt for professional dry cleaning, ensuring that the hand-rolled edge should never be pressed. “The boxes and acid-free paper Hermès scarves come with are the perfect way to store your scarf, and this particular example looks as fresh as it would have when it was bought 24 years ago,” says Randell.hermes-scarf

Giovanna Battaglia, Paris Fashion Week. Photograph by Silvia Olsen, courtesy of White Line Projects.

Other ways to keep your scarf in excellent condition: avoid wearing it on a rainy day. Silk may be damaged by contact with any type of liquid. Do not use any scarf clips, rings, or brooches that might puncture a hole or pull a thread. After you have worn your scarf, do not fold it right away, instead, leave it to “breathe” overnight.

“Keep your scarves folded, out of sunlight, and in their original box as they will be more desirable if they are re-sold in the future,” says Taylor. While scarves are easy to store and are extremely versatile, “condition is extremely important, as stains and tears greatly affect value.”

Hand-stitched label with care instructions on Hermes “Brides of Gala” silk scarf, designed by Hugo Grygkar, 1957.

Tips for preserving the condition of your Hermès scarf:

  1. Opt for professional dry cleaning, when needed
  2. Avoid contact with moisture of any kind
  3. Forgo scarf clips, rings and brooches
  4. Allow the scarf to “breathe” after use
  5. Keep scarves folded in their original box when stored

Alternatively, if you’re hoping to dodge possible wear and tear, you might instead consider hanging your Hermès scarves on your walls. “Hermès scarves are beautiful when mounted and framed,” says Taylor. “They make for interesting alternative artwork to display in the home.”

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