Sunday, March 13, 2011

Festival des métiers- HERMES


If you happen to be in Chicago, I highly recommend the Festival des métiers, or celebration of craftsmanship, going on at Hermès on Oak Street until Wednesday March 16 (right across the street from Despos *ahem*).

A craftsperson representing each of the product categories is on hand, making their product, largely by hand. A leatherworker sits making a Kelly bag, whose handle alone requires 4 hours of work, and 18 hours in all to hand-craft the bag. A cordwainer was on his lunch break when I was there.

A watchmaker and a jeweler show how they operate, then I stopped to watch a shirt being hand-finished. Armholes, collar and buttonholes are hand done- the hand stitching around the armholes is so fine as to be invisible from the right side. When I asked if this was perhaps too delicate to be machine-washed I earned a look of utter disgust, the likes of which only the French are capable. Hand wash only, s'il-vous-plait.

Also on hand was a tie-maker who was able to demonstrate the entire process. Then a print artist- the person who transforms a complete scarf design into the 30 to 40 colour plates required to screen-print each silk scarf. On average 400 hours and up to 1700 hours of work to hand-draw each screen. Then a demonstration of the screen-printing process which, by itself, was worth the price of admission. Which happened to be free. But still. I would happily have paid to see this.

It is also timely because I have, up until now, been focused almost entirely on English and Italian craftsmanship; the next few posts will instead focus on the French. Des Esseintes sent a surprising jacket made by Smalto, and CEGO's Carl Goldberg sent a trouser by Smalto and a jacket by Gilbert Feruch whose workmanship bears a striking resemblance to that of the Smalto. He also sent a shirt which had been custom-made for his father by Lanvin and whose workmanship is exceedingly fine. Alors pendant quelques semaines nous assisterons à un festival des métiers et de l'artisanat français.

In the meantime, a few images from my visit today.











À bientot!


s, said...

wonderful, wish i was in the usa for this... you are quite the photographer mr d.

melissa said...

Wow that sounds amazing! I'd totally pay to see that, too.

Benjamin E. said...

Is the J.D. monogram a coincidence or did they make you a shirt?

R. Jeffery Diduch said...

@s- thank you.

@Benjamin E.- A happy coincidence. :)

Chloé said...

Hi! Thank you for your comment! I loved this show so much-we went twice in a row. I rarely think of the craftspeople of fashion, it's like I got a backstage pass to a backstage I never thought of going to before. Weird considering my dad...
I'm really interested to hear about what you find on French craftsmanship. I'm exactly the opposite, I usually only think of the French when I think craftsmanship. Like Jean Paul Gaultier or John Galliano (who is technically English, but he might as well be French).

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