Saturday, 19 May 2012

Sensory Delight at Leather Forever

Today, I spent a perfect Saturday afternoon exploring the Hermès Leather Forever Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts' sister exhibition space 6 Burlington Gardens.  Quite a fitting location for the exhibition seeing as Hermès' first London boutique opened in nearby Jermyn Street fifty years ago!


The innovative exhibition commemorates 175 years for Hermès by celebrating the luxury brand's special relationship with leather and tracing Hermès' history - from 19th Century saddle and harness-maker, to one of the most famous (and desirable) handbag brands of the 21st Century.

As a visitor, you are taken on a whimsical journey discovering Hermès' love of leather, featuring some of its most historic creations as well as some more recent designs.  Personal delights include:
  • The 'Library of Skins' room, where you can see, feel, touch and smell the plethora of leathers and exotic skins that Hermès' skilled artisans transform into beautiful and functional creations
  • Live craftspeople from the Hermès workshops in Paris demonstrating the art of leather working by creating some of its iconic works in situ and talking you through the intricate processes
  • A giant neon Kelly bag sculpture showing off the many variations of the Kelly and Birkin bags that have been created over the years that you can see in detail with Hermès binoculars
  • A room dedicated to Hermès' equestrian roots featuring a white sand floor
  • Special lighting and animation showcasing Hermès' bags' features 

Giant neon Kelly bag sculpture

A final surprise before leaving the exhibition was the unveiling of four one-of-a-kind versions of the Hermès Passe-Guide handbag representing England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, each in its own country personalised setting.  My favourites were the bags for Ireland and England! These bags will be auctioned online from May 14-31 by Christie's, raising funds for the Royal Academy of Art.

This exhibition is a feast for the senses and a must see for anyone who is an admirer of the Hermès brand, an admirer of its beautiful handbags and leather creations and of course anyone interested in design and crafts.  Hurry though, as the exhibit only runs till 28th May and it would be a shame to miss it!

Hermès Leather Forever, 8 - 27 May 2012 at the Royal Academy of Arts' 6 Burlington Gardens
Admission: Free
Opening hours:
Saturday-Thursday 10am-6pm
Friday 10am-10pm
Visit the Hermès Leather Forever official website here
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