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Last week in New York, Hermès transformed its men’s Madison Avenue store into Silk Mix—a twist on a classic vinyl record store showcasing the silk collections of the fashion house. Silk scarf designs were printed on record sleeves and tie designs covered cassette tapes. Visitors could listen to the records right there—each sleeve corresponding to a song played at that season’s fashion show.
Silk Mix was the culmination of a collaboration between Artistic Director of Hermès Men’s Universe Véronique Nichanian, Creative Director of Men’s Silk Christophe Goineau, and Thierry Planelle, the Artistic Director behind the soundtrack to the Hermès men’s ready-to-wear runway shows.
To hear more about Silk Mix, which has been open to the public all week, Whitewall met with Goineau.
WHITEWALL: Tell us about the idea to celebrate the silk collection?
CHRISTOPHE GOINEAU: Véronique Nichanian wanted to do something kind of free—a meeting point with our customers for pleasure, listening to music, design, and colors. We aren’t launching anything, we just wanted to show our scarves. I think people know the Hermès women’s scarves very well, but they don’t know the men’s scarves, as well.
WW: How are the women’s and men’s scarves different? Is it material, is it shape?
CG: Maybe 15 years ago, we took designs from the women’s and recolored them. That was nice, but slowly we wanted to find a proper men’s design. We started working with an in-house designer to do a design that women wouldn’t choose.
We went a bit deeper, too, in coloration, material, and shape. We realized men don’t know how to wear scarves. They don’t feel comfortable with it. You have to fold it or do a knot or something like that. So, the first thing we worked on with Véronique was the size. Normally it’s 90cm x 90cm for women. We finally found 1m x 1m to be easier because it’s a bit longer.
Then for material, I was looking for a matte material, nothing too shiny, something easy to wear and more durable.
WW: So, how did you arrive at the idea to transform the boutique into a record store?
CG: Each time we would work on the scarves, with Véronique, we would say that they would make a beautiful cover of a record. One day Veronique was thinking, “Why don’t we make a record shop?” The first time we did it was in Tokyo. It was something so nice that we thought we could go a bit further.
Thierry Planelle has been working with Véronique for many years with music for the shows. We thought it could be interesting to go back maybe 10 years and take the scarves and match the music from the show of that time with the scarves. For example, we’d have a design from 2010 and we’d go back to the music of 2010 and try to find the best music that fits that design.
WW: Have any designs been inspired by directly by music?
CG: Yes and no. I work with music very often, as does Veronique, but I wouldn’t say any were directly connected.
WW: What an interesting way to look back on what you’ve produced over the years and tie it to this moment in time with music.
CG: The first time I saw it all come together I was so impressed. It was a strong emotion because I’ve never had the feeling of seeing all the scarves at once. It’s like when you hear music. Sometimes music reminds you of a time, being with someone, a place. These scarves for me, they remind me of this year or this designer, this coloration or where we were working. It was so much information at once. It was very nice.