Definitely worth ticking this one off from the long list of astonishing exhibitions and events that London is playing host to this summer. For those accessory lovers out there, this is the perfect occasion for an enlightening and informative adventure.
The exhibition held at the Royal Academy of Arts sister space, 6 Burlington Gardens, takes you through the one hundred and seventy five year history of the acclaimed Hermès brand. Not just a display of stunning handbags, you will be taken on a journey through six generations of artisan craft to discover the beauty in the process that leads to such incredible results.
It becomes evident when walking through exhibition, that Thierry Hermès had a fascination with creating designer objects from leather from the very early days. Having founded the brand in 1837, he first began experimenting with leather through structuring harnesses and saddles, some of which are available to view in an equestrian themed room featuring a white sand floor. Whilst another room dedicates itself to travel pieces, with items displayed under a nomadic, dessert themed tent. Perhaps the highlight to many of us though, are the decadent accessories; shoes, belts and of course the iconic Kelly and Birkin handbags through which the brand has acquired much of its notoriety. The most desirable bags are displayed inside a giant neon-framed bag sculpture, with binoculars on hand to view them in more detail.
With so many products on display inviting you to get up close and personal, you are able to see the exceptional quality and intricate detail that has reigned through almost two centuries. Various craftspeople from Hermès’ original Paris workshop are on hand to showcase the extreme skill that goes into the making of your piece of arm candy. Having worked with many leather experts, it is clear to see how strong the relationship between the brand and the enduring material is. The bags represent far more than their price tag; they are the product of sheer dedication and an indestructibly strong brand heritage that cannot be bought. So next time you complain that your must-have handbag is sold out, consider that few handbags on the market are built with this level of craftsmanship.
Before you leave, there is a surprise unveiling of four unique bags designed especially for the exhibition, with all proceeds going towards the Royal Academy of Arts. With the exhibition finishing on the 27th May, time is running out so pay a visit soon, I promise it is worth it!
6 Burlington Gardens
8th May – 27th May 2012