Uncovering the Hermès Scarf

A highlight of our December fashion auction is a stunning collection of silk twill & jacquard Hermès scarves. First produced in 1937, the Hermès scarf has been a favourite of fashion icons including Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Onassis & Queen Elizabeth II – thanks to eye catching designs… and exquisite craftsmanship.

Hermes, Paris: Turquoise & Gold Silk Twill, Profile Selliere, Scarf, Designed by M. Guillemot, First Issued 1974

A brief history of Hermès

Hermès was born in Paris in 1837 when Thierry Hermès opened a workshop on Rue Basse-du-Rempart to craft his high quality leather harnesses.

Over the next century, the business passed down the family chain, expanding to offer made-to-measure saddlery in 1880, men’s ready-to-wear garments in 1925, and jewellery in 1927 – plus watches & sandals shortly afterwards.

From the 1930’s to the 1950’s Hermès branched into scarves, ties, handbags and women’s fashion, each collection embodying the company’s original commitment to high quality artisanal creations.


Hermes, Paris: Grey Ground, Orange & Green Silk Twill, Les Ballets Russes Scarf, Designed by Annie Faivre 1996Introducing the Hermès scarf

Created by Robert Dumas, Émile Hermès’ son-in-law, the first Hermès Scarf was the Jeu des omnibus et dames blanches, featuring a circular design of horses & carriages around a central portrait of women seated at a table. While inspiration for designs has ranged from Bauhaus to ballet, motifs often still provide a nod to the company’s equestrian roots.

The first carrés (“square scarves”) were made from imported Chinese silk, which was twice as strong as any other silk scarf at the time. While the square format is the most common, other shapes include a long and narrow version with diagonal ends – The Twilly – plus the Triangle and Losange (an elongated rhombus shape).

Hermes, Paris: Dark Blue Ground, Red/Multi-Colour Silk Twill Parures Des Sables Scarf, Designed by Laurence Bourthoumieux, 1988-2004
Why so popular?

From concept to creation, the typical Hermès scarf takes over a year to develop – and this ongoing commitment to artisanship is one reason for the scarf’s enduring popularity.

Hermès scarves are beautifully designed but also highly versatile.

They can be worn as a traditional scarf around the neck, as a head scarf, belt or bandeau. Princess Grace notably wore one as an elegant arm sling in 1959.


Hermes, Paris: Black Ground, Gold & Brown, Silk Twill Springs Scarf, Designed by Phillipe Ledoux, c.1990
At auction in December

Theodore Bruce is delighted to bring to auction a selection of Hermès scarves in our upcoming fashion auction.

Also on offer will be luxury handbags & garments from labels including Christian Dior, Longchamp, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo & Zac Posen.

Catalogue online soon.

Please view the Auction Preview & keep an eye on our Upcoming Auctions.