Review: Hermès “Leather Forever” 175th anniversary – The Royal Academy of Arts Galleries
From the 8th to the 27th of May
When I started going to exhibitions on my own approximately 5 years ago, I went because I wanted to go but also because I felt like I had to a little bit. Firstly because I knew that I wanted to work within the creative industry, secondly because I had just moved to London and I think I felt it was appropriate to visit, and thirdly I had just finished school and I think I felt for the first time that no one was really going to push me to do stuff anymore, so I had to push myself. And push myself I did, but it wasn’t easy, I think I never really knew how to “visit” a museum a gallery or an exhibition, I just felt out of my comfort zone. But why am I telling you all of this today, because lately I have been looking forward to visit exhibitions, like the “can’t wait”, “makes my day” type of looking forward.
And the last exhibition I visited is the Hermès “Leather forever” exhibition at Burlington Gardens just of New Bond Street and Savile Row, in the middle of tradition and high fashion, which seemed like a perfect location. The title of the exhibition is “Leather Forever” and as soon as you step in, is a room full of leather “The Hermès Leather closet” or as they call the “Library of skins”.
What is amazing is that it just isn’t the type of thing that I got used to seeing in galleries, I just grew a custom to see the finished product and not really think about how it got there. So it is not a shock if I tell you that the most amazing part of the exhibition is in the second room, artisans that have been working with Hermès for years were actually making bags, a Kelly bag to say the least. And they were explaining what they were doing every step of the way, and were open to any questions you might have, as I’m sure you would, I certainly did.
After that it was as if the exhibition started again, the feel changed completely, the rooms being very dark had only the bags, accessories and relevant information lit and standing out, also it was playing with digital elements and modern media to create stories of separate items by illuminating them one after the other, they played with mirrors lighting and even with the information at the start of each new room, it was as poetic as it was informative.
It started of with history, through to the classics, which was revealed trough a two meter installation of a Kelly bag with twenty or so, different variations of Kelly and Birkin bags inside, going forward was the other part Hermes leather accessories like the saddles and agendas right to the present of the brand, with their latest addition to the collection of unique limited edition (literally there are four) bags that are to be sold at Christies to raise funds for the Royal Academy of Arts was revealed right at the end.
Leather forever was not only a superb tribute to Hermès it was also an exhibition challenging all senses, other then seeing, there was always someone there to ask questions to that was working for the company, there was a strong smell of leather throughout the entire space, touching and feeling the leather was also a huge part of the experience and to top it all off there were sounds that fitted perfectly with the mood. Every aspect and detail was pushed to its limit and it was truly enchanting. If you can go, GO!!