Saturday, October 9, 2010

An Admirer

Hermes in Vancouver had on hand over the past week a master leather craftsman from their Paris workshops. No photos were allowed - understandable given the problem of conterfeit handbags.

A workbench was set up in the store, and there she answered questions and plied her trade as people watched. It was a beautiful sight to behold. Spools of linen thread in wonderful colors, illuminated by a work lamp, lined the top of the workbench while various handtools lined its walls. On the table, a red calfskin Jypsiere was slowly taking form, one expert handstitch at a time. Leather pieces are sewn together by first marking holes with a fork-like tool, piercing the leather with an awl, and then sewing linen thread with a pair of needles. Sewn edges are rounded with a heated iron, sanded down, coated with dye, and finally polished with beeswax.

A Jypsiere in leather takes 15 hours to make - all by hand, save for machine-aided stamping of the pieces of skin, and sewing of the lining - while one in crocodile or alligator takes 20-25 hours as these skins are more delicate. Indeed, all of Hermes' leather products are fabricated by hand. Given the interest of visitors to the store, this bag may have to be finished back in France.

1 comment:

Marc said...

Very thoughtful account of this informative event.