For this weekly column, writer Mishal Cazmi highlights an iconic piece and explore its influence on style and pop culture. Above, a Spring 2010 Hermès scarf.
If fashion is the realm of covetable things, the Hermès scarf is the pinnacle of all fashion desires. It’s synonymous with luxury and refinement. Women who can afford it wear it as easily as its equally famous (pricier) sibling, the Birkin bag. The women who save up for it deem it an investment piece. To an outsider, it’s a square piece of cloth, no more, no less. To the fashion world, it’s a piece of treasure to cherish and to love.
The Hermès scarf made its debut in 1937 in Lyon, France. Since then, the fashion house has created over 2,000 silk scarves in an assortment of patterns and an exhaustive palette of colours. Marked by Hermès’s signature craftsmanship, the scarves are also hand-printed and the hems hand-stitched.
The scarf is nothing if not resourceful. Grace Kelly famously used a Hermès scarf as a sling for her broken arm. Madonna wore one as a wrap-around top in Swept Away. Sharon Stone made naughtier use of it for a bondage scene in Basic Instinct.