Scarves have become a recent passion of mine. I am always on the lookout for the most gorgeous ones and have been doing a fair amount of research on them. Of course, you don't need to to know much, to know that when it comes to scarves, the topic begins and ends with Hermes. The subject came up with my sister recently, and we both agreed that while truly fabulous, they are quite expensive. This led me to wonder what it is about these scarves, other than the obvious, that makes them so valuable. After a little research I stumbled across this description of the process of making an Hermes scarf in Nina Garcia's book The One Hundred. This is a beautifully written description of the process (and frankly, pretty exciting drama) of their creation. Needless to say, I now understand why they cost so much, but also, why they are so amazing.
The Hermes Scarf
'It is just 90 centimeters and 65 grams of silk, yet it takes two years to create a single Hermes scarf. Technically, the process begins in Brazil, where the silk is spun from cocoons woven by larvae of 250 silk moths. As the silk is spinning in Brazil, the designers are briefed on what the theme of the season' collection will be. Then, over fifty artists create designs for the ten scarves to be produced that season. After the many months it takes to create the designs, an engraver will make a silk screen for each different color that will appear on each scarf. If there are thirty different colors in one scarf, he must create thirty different silk screens. Then there is an intensive coloration process, as an entire committee will vote on the shades and tones, before the design is finally sent to the factory where the dirty work begins. There is a dizzying printing process, then a luxurious steam bath to make the scarves unbelievable soft, and then two women painstakingly scrutinize each centimeter of silk for any defect. Last, the squares are cut and seamstresses edge them by hand, before they are shipped off to be snatched up by women all over the world'