Hermes @ Saatchi

There have been at least four Hermes exhibitions since I started Gallery Girl (less than four years ago). You would think that the prestigious French fashion house, famed for it’s luxury accessories, would have tired of displaying their wares in an art environment in London. However, less than a year after their display at the Saatchi Gallery last May, they have returned to Chelsea for yet another extravagant display of their finery.

Unlike last year’s exhibition, which focused on illustrating the high level of craftsmanship that contributes to the Hermes wares and included craftsmen and women who work for the brand, this year’s show was a little different. The exhibition is titled ‘Hermes Wanderland’ and transports the viewer to another world – one that seems to have been highly influenced by the surrealists.

The display, which has been set in Paris and embodies the spirit of the ‘flaneur’ consists of eleven rooms and has 4,000 Hermes items on show. The exhibition is inconsistent, but in a good way. Each room is different, meaning that the viewer is constantly in a state of enforced ‘wander.’ One minute you find yourself in a bright and light room, then you find yourself walking through a white wardrobe and you land not in Narnia, but in a space of complete darkness.

The exhibition is not aimed just at women. In fact, the handbags and scarves that Hermes is most famous for appear to have taken a backseat in favour of walking sticks, pocket watches and umbrellas. These are displayed in such settings as isolated bars and cafes, as well as shop windows that have been filled with giant elephants, porcelain and china.

The show is a delight and must be enjoyed before it wanders elsewhere!

Hermes Wanderland is on display at Saatchi Gallery until 2 May and will then be relocated to Paris and Milan

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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