Les Mains d'Hermès
Hearts and craft
Established as “harness and saddle makers” in Paris since 1837, Hermès has always been supported by artisans throughout history.
Celebrating this year’s annual theme of “Contemporary artisan since 1837”, Hermès presented “Hearts and Crafts”, a film directed in 2011 by Frédéric Laffont and Isabelle Dupuy-Chavanat. This documentary pays homage to the artisans of the numerous Hermès métiers.
Setting off to discover the ateliers, the film’s directors shine a light on the men and women who bring the Parisian house’s objects to life. In the four corners of France, from Paris to the Ardennes, from the Lyonnais to Lorraine, they have opened the doors of the house’s workshops to lift the veil on those who master the gestures and the savoir-faire of the saddler, the leather craftsperson, the crystal and glassmaker, the jeweller, the silk screener etc. and shines a light on the men and women who bring the Parisian house’s objects to gorgeous life.
Isabelle Dupuy-Chavanat and Frédéric Laffont have captured the sounds of leather and crystal, the song of silk and metal, the words of the men and women and also their silences. In their cinematic testimonial they have brought together these sparks of life, enthusiasm, pride and passion, as each craftsperson assembles a handbag or a piece of jewellery. Step by step. Meticulously. With passion and respect, in the quest for excellence.
“Hearts and Crafts” is a journey back to a bygone era. More than a justification of the price attached to a Hermès item, it’s a tribute to its craftsmen and women, an hommage to their work and the generations of artisans who came before them, and a salute to those who will take their place. “The term craftsman gives me goosebumps,” said one of the artisans. “I like it a lot and want to remain one.”
The 47 minute film visits various Hermès production sites around France, from the historic Paris workshop above its flagship store to its crystal factory in a depressed corner of the country. Workers talk about the saddles, Kelly bags, silk scarves, metal jewelry and crystal goblets they make.
Isabelle Dupuy Chavanat and Frédéric Laffont