Monday, 17th June 2024

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A behind-the-curtain look at Hermes’ craftsmanship in Seoul

At its 10-day exhibition, 'Hermès in the Making,' mounted at Lotte World Tower’s World Park in southeastern Seoul, the French luxury design house offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse  into its artisans at work to demonstrate how they design, create and repair some of the brand’s most timeless products. Courtesy of Hermès

Some partnerships, though surprising at first glance, simply click.

Such was the case when Hermès, with its 187-year legacy rooted in the virtue of craftsmanship, announced its collaboration with the Korea Heritage Service (then the Cultural Heritage Administration) back in 2015. Their shared goal? To restore the country’s centuries-old palatial furniture.

Over the next nine years, with the support of the French luxury brand, treasures that once embodied the courtly splendor of Joseon royalty at Seoul’s Gyeongbok Palace and Deoksu Palace were brought back to life through artisanal repairs and recreations. Among them are a silver-inlaid candlestick and a crimson, dragon-engraved chair reserved for kings.

“What is important for Hermès is to recognize exceptional craftsmanships wherever they are,” said Guillaume de Seynes, the fashion house’s executive vice president and a sixth-generation member of the Hermès family, reflecting on the partnership.

“It’s about [forging] that fraternity between craftsmanships around the world. That’s why I think this [project] on the royal palaces in Seoul is a fantastic one.”

And this month, the French maison offers another special cultural treat for Korea that equally extols the idea of artisanship: the “Hermès in the Making” exhibition. Seoul is the 10th destination for this unique — and free — traveling show, which opened last Saturday at Lotte World Tower’s World Park in southern Seoul.

As its title suggests, this 10-day exhibition is all about offering a rare behind-the-scenes peek into the world of Hermès’ artisans at work, most of whom have flown in from their workshops in France to demonstrate how they design, create and repair some of the brand’s most timeless products.

Any fashion-loving visitor is free to get up close and ask questions to the 11 craftspeople — experts in leather-stitching, engraving, 안전 watchmaking, silkscreen printing and ceramic painting — spread across nine different stations within the box-like gallery.

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