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Petit h - Thinking Outside the Orange Box

Posted on 10 October 2013

 
While many of you may know Hermès as heritage saddlery makers, and more recently the iconic Birkin bag, you may not know about its 'younger sibling' Petit hthe collection of one of a kind accessories and art pieces crafted from reclaimed materials from Hermès’ many ateliers and workshops. The concept which has become a series of traveling exhibitions, is ever changing in theme and the best thing is they're all driven by designer collaborations. Designers must work from the materials on hand to create the pieces for each new collection. Remembering that MISCHA was conceived from my personal collection of vintage obi, and hearing from my friend who is part of the Petit h team, how exciting it is, I was eager to visit while I was in Paris recently.
 
On entering the rue de Sevres store where the collection is housed when not traveling, you get the impression that you've walked into, for lack of a better description - an exciting arts and crafts classroom in full force - with colourful handbags, splashes of colour, scarves and pattern cutting paper sheets hanging from the ceilings and draping across the walls.  You can see how calf skins baring the cookie cutter shapes have been combined with colourful felt and transformed into tote bags. You can also see how leather remnants have been double faced and made into windmill ornaments, while the large sheets of pattern paper drape across the walls.
 

Cookie cutter Kelly bags at the 17 rue de Sèvres store.


With the motto "We don't throw anything away!" the collection, is by no means crafty, eco-friendly or politically correct. It is the brain child of Mme Pascale Mussard, who has been with the company for 33 years. Herself a 6th generation member of the Hermès family, she grew up in the fabled workshops on the Rue du Faubourg St Honoré, watching artisans practice their time honored craft and discarding materials that did not match their stringent standards. As a curious child, Pascale collected scraps of leather, buckles, trims of silk and pieces of crocodile skin, just in case. It was this experience that inspired Petit h. Her idea was to give a second life to discarded Hermès materials by transforming them into something completely new. The collection debuted in 2011 with fun and imaginative objects from silk scarves turned mobiles to Kelly bag buckle vases, to stirrup swings and leather scrap stuffed animals. Here's a sample of our favourites:

 

 


Silk scarves that aren't absolutely 100% perfect have been transformed into charm bracelets and accordion like 3D silk necklaces.


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