Hermès versus Louis Vuitton

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Two legendary fashion houses, Hermès and Louis Vuitton, met in Melbourne last week. Although their exhibitions have travelled around the world for a few years and have met coincidentally, the events held last week proved to me that Hèrmes stood out in the categories of artistic inspiration.

If it was anyone that would have a good sense of trendy branding, such as emotional branding – it would definitely be Hermès. I mention branding here, because Hermès and Louis Vuitton are both huge companies that sell luxury goods that are desired fashion items. Both of their exhibitions: “Hermès at Work” and “Louis Vuitton Time Capsule” were great marketing opportunities and showcased beautiful objects that both of the legendary Parisian fashion houses have produced and been selling for decades.

Hermès really went one step further by doing something different. There was something very appealing about having the possibility to meet the ‘man behind the object’, no matter what the object is, be it only bags, gloves, scarves or beautiful watches. The Hermès exhibition introduced all their craftsmen, presenting them at work performing their skills. As many of them only spoke French, translators were on hand to ensure the audience were able to learn everything about their amazing craftsmanship. To be fair to the Louis Vuitton exhibition, it had a similar event, with one woman at their exhibition who had crafted famous canvas bags. She was standing behind the table where you could see her sewing, but comparing this to how interactive Hermes was, it was not the same. However, at the LV exhibition, she stood next to many beautiful suitcases, trunks and other objects from the fashion house’s past.

Overall, I was really moved by the Hermès exhibition, because I could feel how proud the Hermès craftsmen were whilst they were talking about the results of their work – their details in printing superb silk scarfs, sewing bags only by hand, setting gems in jewelry and constructing watches. No matter what was the subject – all of them were proud of what they do. They talked about their crafts with such passion that I felt so inspired by their work. Although, I still find the Hermès bags being extremely expensive (with a price range about hundreds of thousands of dollars), I definitely now have a respect and admiration for the craftsmanship needed to complete Hermès products. The exhibition also allowed me to question my approach to work, and made me think about when the last time was when I was able to talk about my work with such passion and pride like those French artisans. They really gave me something to think about.

Here are some of the hundreds of photos I took during both events.

The Glover at Hermès
This Glove Form is 300 years old (Hermès exhibition)
The Leatherworker who makes the famous Hermès bags
This is how the famous Hermès bags are being made

 

The Silk Engraver works from a hand-made , life-sized model, which is digitalised (Hermès exhibition)
This is going to be printed on a scarf (Hermès exhibition)
The silk printer uses the “flat frame” technique, also known as the ‘Lyonnaise method” in tribute to its genesis in Lyon in the 1930s (Hermès exhibition)
Subsequent colour is printed onto the silk through the gauze mesh in a precise order (Hermès exhibition)
The Saddler at Hermès must ensure that its creation is tailored to both the rider and the horse
The Porcelain Painter at Hermès
The Watchmaker at Hermès
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This is what the gem-setter sees through a microscope (Hermès exhibition)
Artisans’ room at the Louis Vuitton exhibition
Mail Trunk dated 1879, Louis Vuitton Collection
Picnic Trunk dated 1906, Louis Vuitton Collection
Thérèse Bonney was an American photographer and publicist, here circa 1927, Louis Vuitton Archives

 

Excelski Trunk dated 1923, Louis Vuitton Collection
Advertising Artwork for the Car Trunk, dated 1927, Louis Vuitton Archives
Perfum Travel Case fror 2016, Louis Vuitton Collection
IMail Trunk, 1950, Louis Vuitton Collection
Billie Achilleos Kangaroo “Maroquinaris Zoologicae” project, composed of Louis Vuitton leathergoods and featured in the window display for the opening of the George Street Maison, Sydney in 2011; Louis Vuitton Collection

 

 

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