October 23, 2016

Hermès New York Transformed by Levi van Veluw

The fall window display for the New York flagship of Hermès, the sixth generation saddlemaker turned high-fashion staple, is in full trot. As part of the annual “Vitrine D’Artiste” program, on display through November 19 at the house’s Madison Avenue boutique, artist Levi van Veluw created 3-D wooden versions of Hermès’s seminal silk scarves, which have been coveted by the likes of Queen Elizabeth II and Grace Kelly since being introduced in 1937, a century after the company was founded as a harness workshop serving noblemen in Paris.

Van Veluw intricately crafted finely carved grids, geometric shapes, filigree, beads, and lacquered elements into compositions layered with objects from Hermès collections—including horse bits, jewelry, and accessories. “For me wood is a great material, it can transform into almost everything you want and it’s so common that it’s not really associated with something specific,” van Veluw says. “And Hermès takes the crafts extremely seriously, the aesthetics are a result of concepts and workmanship instead of just applying a layer of gold to make something expensive. It’s not about glossy materials and overly kitschy expressions—which I think artists value.”

The installation is not the multidisciplinary Dutchman’s first foray into New York, having participated in the “Dead or Alive” exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design in 2010. 

He now joins the list of designers and artists who have created windows as part of the Vitrine D’Artiste program, which also includes Isabelle Daeron, Sarah Illenberger, Bethan Laura Wood, Kiki van Eijk, and Zim & Zou.

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