This post was originally published on sothebys.com Article By | Halina Loft

Sotheby’s online Handbags and Accessories emporium offers a collection of must-have Hermès scarves, each with its own remarkable design. Read on, to discover the history and influence of this unapparelled silk accessory.

The scarf is quite possibly the most simple accessory: just a square (or rectangle) swatch of fabric, long enough to circle the neck, but not so long as to be considered a blanket. But simplicity can mean brilliance, especially when considering scarves from French luxury brand Hermès.

 

A HERMÈS ADVERTISEMENT FROM 1937, FEATURING THE NEWLY INTRODUCED SILK SCARF.

The Height of Parisian Fashion

Hermès first began producing scarves in 1937, a century after the company established its first harness workshop in Paris. Robert Dumas, a member of the Hermès family, created the design for the first scarf using a woodblock; the elaborate, colorful pattern quickly drew attention from women in Paris’s high society and before long, the Hermès scarf was the must-have fashion accessory.

Remarkable Strength, Incredible Versatility

Made from imported Chinese silk, the first carrés (“square scarves”) were twice as strong as any other silk scarf on the market at the time, and by far the most versatile. Not only could the wearer fashion it around her neck or tie it to her saddle, she could use it for more demanding tasks. Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco, for example, used her Hermès scarf as a chic sling when she injured her arm in 1957.

PRINCESS GRACE OF MONACO HAS ARM IN COLORFUL SLING AS SHE BOARDS ARISTOTLE ONASSIS’ YACHT FOR DINNER PARTY IN MONACO’S HARBOR, AUGUST 27, 1959. HER HUSBAND, PRINCE RAINIER, FOLLOWS. THE PALACE SAID THE PRINCESS RECEIVED WASP STING TWO DAYS EARLIER AT HER MONT AGEL SUMMER RESIDENCE AND HAD SUFFERED A GREAT DEAL OF PAIN. (AP PHOTO). AP

Today, Hermès sources its silk from its own silkworm plantation in southern Brazil – and the scarves remain impressively strong, thanks to 450,000 meters of silk.