Scarf functions iconic Hermes – The origin of the fashionable scarf today seems to be in the appeal of the chic, ruffled scarves around the neck, hands, on the belt, and most often with riding clothes. Coco Chanel was one of the first to show it publicly.

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How to wear a scarf with style, in different ways

Then the Parisian company Hermes, a manufacturer of horse equipment as a riding and travel haberdashery, expands its program according to the needs of women. In addition to men’s, it also launches a women’s leather bag. And for the first time, in 1937, they designed the scarf The Game of Omnibuses and White Ladies. It is becoming popular among the fashionable cream of Parisian ladies. However, the fashion breakthrough of designer handbags and scarves did not come until after the 1950s. And today, the functions of scarves are varied and countless, both in high and street fashion. Scarves, for centuries, were a traditional covering of hair and head. And what happened was that it went from being an item of consumer goods to a high fashion spice.

Starting from the covered accessories and intimate. Over those only for the eyes of the closest family. Through the brightest ones, which will overshadow the eyes of the village collective, but also the “evil” of the unfathomable imaginary world. In the interpretation of the traditional scarf, K. Radisavljević also mentioned the Hermes scarf phenomenon in the Catalog. This inspired me to expand the story of the invention that changed the fate of the scarf, which became a kind of consumer good.

The first scarf model, an advertised novelty in 1937.
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Advert for the Hermes Kelly handbag, on a poster with a “Hippodrome” scarf and gloves of the same color, 1957.

Scarf functions iconic Hermes – Production, standard Textile processes

By the way, the traditional way of making scarves remains unchanged, handwork print or mass industrial production. Because it represents a series of the mode format of the designed scarf on lengths of yardage fabric. Also, on the offer, we can find different finishing levels: scarf as a finished product, even luxuriously packaged; or scarves cut according to printed formats, unhemmed as semi-finished products, wholesale; also on sale by the meter. I have had a skirt or dress made of such fabric several times.

Hand screen printing line at the Hermès factory in Lyon

At Hermès, each model is a work of art with its own painted story. The scarf creation production process, from the design to the sale, lasts about two years. For the chosen design, engravers use Indian ink and quills to trace the colors and shapes of each pattern.

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Hermes` expert stitchers finish the final processing of every single scarf. Artisans gently roll by hands unhemmed edges toward the printed surface. Then the craftsman twists the edge and sews, next to his fingers, with a needle with the appropriate thread.

In contrast to the traditional square scarf, the Hermès scarf bands are characterized by various formats and diverse ranges. Of course, the most numerous Hermes are square scarves variety of sizes. Then narrower rectangles, but also very wide. Also, different sizes of medium or giant triangles and various twillies as hair bands or belts. Losange (diamond shape) or twillies are youth favorites. Twillies are charming for tying instead of bracelets, tye on the purse, or wrapping around purse handles.

You can find the diagram with all the format types in the Hermes Guide catalog. Although there is also a display of dimensions by product groups.

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Scarf, designers piece, a popular outfit contemporary  accessory

K. Radisavljević is interested in the contemporary headscarf and mentioned the fashion key event. She paid attention to the original achievement of Hermes, a manufacturer of leather riding equipment. In addition to an elegant leather bag for women, Hermes creates a line of fashion scarves. In 1937. launched the germinal and first iconic design.

The son-in-law of Emil Hermes, Robert Dima, created a revolutionary author’s design based on Hugo Grikar’s drawing “The Game of Omnibuses and White Checkers”. This invention started the successful history of the Hermes scarf. On the fabric for the jockey jacket, he hand-printed a multi-layered pattern in multiple colors using wooden molds. The first of the many designs of Hermes scarves were made using hand textile techniques during the entire manufacturing process.

Weavers, at the handlooms, made a silk twill of much better quality than in Lyon at the time. The high society cream of Parisian ladies soon accepted the fashionable scarf. But the war crisis delayed its rise until the 1950s.

The Game of Omnibuses and White Checkers, 1937.

Cartoonists Hugo Grykar has found inspiration for the first design in the progress of Parisian public transport. For the accent motif chosen, the omnibus, a means of public transport from Paris to Nantes, was introduced in 1826. At the central medallion is a scene of the game “checkers” depicting white-wigged females playing a popular table game. The Game of Omnibus and White Checkers. He added the inscription A good player never gets angry. So, the humor and bohemian note remain a lasting, discreet contribution to the popularity of the Hermès scarf.

Scarf functions iconic Hermes – Top brand in scarf design

The first Hermès design, as we have said, dates back to 1937. Since then, Hermes has presented about 20 models every year. In 10/15 different color variants, each of the designs. From animals to landscapes to the seasons, colors, and sensations, the game.

Nowadays, a few clicks enable all necessary information about the approximately 2,000 models offered worldwide. For special occasions, redesigns some of the most iconic models. In 2007, for its 70 years jubilee, Hermes launched a variant of the design from 1937. The Game of Omnibuses and White Checkers. The repetition of the germinal model again happened on the occasion of the 80th anniversary in 2017.

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2007, redesign of The Game of Omnibuses and White Checkers
2017, screen printing of the redesign on the germinal model

Scarf functions iconic Hermes – Traditions and Indigo capsule series, 2014.

At the exhibition, I noticed indigo-colored scarves with discrete bright patterns of the batik technique. They irresistibly remind me of samples from the Hermes series of indigo-blue and similar patterns of this series.

Hermes launched the capsule series Indigo 2014 as a tribute to natural technologies and indigo dyeing. Hand-printed in Lyon, copying the dyeing process still cultivated in Bangladesh and India. This collection also celebrates the iconic emblems of Hermes. As well as pieces of horseman equipment. A classic example in the indigo series is Springs, colored by Philippe Ledoux’s design composed of historic carriage models. The English royal house still uses them for ceremonies today.

Lightweight scarf, 70% cashmere, 30% silk, ideal for a casual outfit

The model wears the design of the large scarf (140x140cm) already attached here. We are lucky on the day we want to cover a bad haircut. Fold it into a triangle, and tie a double knot. The soft material is ideal for wrapping on cold days or mild evenings.

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One of only four models in the limited Indigo series is a variation of the Brides de Gales design, called Brides of Arashi, in silk twill. The design is the first one that Hermès printed on both sides in different color combinations. The face side is left, and the reverse is right.

Brides de Gala is among the most famous of all Hermès scarves. Hugo Grikar’s design from 1957 illustrates the iconic theme and timeless brand elegance. A pair of symmetrical horse reins from the 19th century, decorated with leaves, mermaids, and coats of arms. Since its invention in 1957, the design has been launched in over 70 updated versions. To Brides de Gala Love Special Edition, Valentine’s Day Scarf 2017. A sophisticated design of a pair of horse bridles is on the surface with rows of blue and orange hearts.

Brides de Gala Love Special Edition, Valentine’s Day Scarf 2017.
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Valentine’s Day Scarf advert images the model wearing the item and package

The scarf functions iconic Hermes – Kelly or Birkin bag with a matching scarf, the ultimate in fashion

In addition to scarves, Hermes is the creator of several famous models of women’s leather bags. Two are the ultimate: Kelly and Birkin. First,  Robert Dumas designed it in the 1930s, boomed in 1956. when a photograph of Grace Kelly carrying the bag was published all around the World. The house named the bag Kelly in honor of the princess. Also, the accompanying scarf was created according to the motto of the Grimaldi house, the inscription With God’s help, and the governmental insignia.

Princess Grace of Monaco fashioned an Hermès carre as a sling for her broken arm on Aristotle Onassis’s yacht in 1959.
It was exactly The Deo Juvante Monaco Hermes silk twill scarf, designed, possibly, by Hugo Grygkar in 1957/58.

The second beg Birkin arose in 1983. and now is much more popular. Birkin was designed by Hermes chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas, inspired by Jane Birkin’s needs (pop icon of the time) for a practical bag. A Series of these bags are accompanied by models of scarves.

So, this Hermès outfit highlights the Brides de Gala scarf with a Hermès belt and the Birkin, among the most prestigious spacious handbags.


And also, here we see a proposal for a combination with a deep blue Birkin from the new collection for autumn and winter 2022/23. The scarf is the appropriate color palette, Lanterns, Ballons & Cocardes 90cm.

Hermes scarf – exclusive order for a unique model or specific person

The brand still maintains an authentic manner today. Increasing production capacity does not affect quality. As at the beginning for celebrity promoters, nowadays Hermès receives orders for manual screen printing of a unique model for a specific person.

Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose, who won the first prize in a royal horse show, in the 40s, with floral scarves
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Kate Moss, the top model, carries the ultimate status symbol, a blue Hermes Birkin bag with a tied red scarf.

Scarf functions iconic Hermes – Standard brand development strategies in line with the times

As well as constantly looking for fresh ideas, in 2019, Pierre-Alexis Dumas organized an international scarf design competition, LE GRAND PRIX DU CARRÉ HERMÈS. Among 5,500 applicants from 123 countries, 6 winners were selected with designs for the concepts of future Hermès collections. And launched two of them for the spring and summer collection 2021: hello! mr farrier, by Ken Lou (Hong Kong) and masan & masan, by Theravata Teankaprasith (Thailand).


Ken Lo at the composition Hello, Mr. Blacksmith! In French, mr “marechal-ferrant” means a robot. The figure was designed around the horseshoe, Hermes’ roots symbol. And on the other hand, styling and arranging dynamic geometric forms of blacksmith tools (nails, tongs, and hammers) adds an ultra-modern note to the design.


For “masan & masan” Theravata Teankaprasita chose to apply the water hyacinth in the authentic weaving of Thailand. The artist used dried and processed herbs for weaving scarf designs. In the Thai language, the masan actually, means woven horse. Here is the simulation of this theme in silk, as a magnificent encounter of two figures, a dark and a light horse, face to face.

Scarves branding fashion

After the success of the Hermès designer scarf, many famous fashion houses are developing similar ideas.

In France: Chanel, Dior, Saint-Laurent, Givenchy;

And in Italy Gucci, Ferragamo, Valentino. High fashion creators who supported mass production made the designer scarf available to a much larger market.

Gucci, an Italian scarf design brand

Flora, design by Victorio Accornero de Teste, 1966.

Once, the Gucci brand began the production of luxury travel and riding equipment for a wealthy clientele. And it shone brightly in the 1960s. It was when Victorio Accornero de Teste designed a small floral scarf. A key feature of the “Flora” design originates from the floral dress of the nymph Flora, based on Sandro Botticelli’s allegories. There are abundantly sprinkled with beautiful flowers, leaves and insects, bees, and butterflies.

Rodolfo Gucci ordered this item to accompany the bag, as a gift to Princess Grace of Monaco in 1966.


The Gucci logo, with two opposite Latin letters G, is a brand mark. It is recognizable in collections of leather products or as a filling surface of prints on synthetic or textile materials.

It is an example of a serial production Gucci combination. Practical leather bag with matching scarf.

Gucci has recently launched “Gucci 100”, the collection inspired by its centenary history (1921-2021). There were also combined designs. For example, it is the mix of iconic Brand motifs on this delicate woolen scarf. Here, there are also reminiscences of the beginnings with riding equipment.

Wonderfully soft scarf (100% wool) with scattered beautiful flowers, then horses and chains and straps across the surface with a GG monogram pattern; edged with fine fringes.


Scarf functions iconic Hermes – High fashion Branding or the Author’s personal design

Today, a scarf or headscarf is a fashion detail on which most anonymous artists search and find personal creative expression. To wear their own handmade pieces, they apply hand textile techniques (weaving, crocheting, embroidery, painting). Such an example is the design of a Jamaican silk scarf, by painting silk, from my social environment.


Dragana Garić Jovičić is an art historian and curator of the Contemporary Art in Vojvodina in The Museum of Vojvodina Collection.

Also deals with silk painting using the batik technique. The word comes from the Javanese word tik (spot or dot). Since 2009, it has been under the protection of UNESCO as a cultural heritage of Indonesia. Applying this ancient technique of painting natural materials, the artist makes unique jamaica silk scarves for herself as well as close women.


Because essentially feels like a mother, hence the title, phrase I am the mother. On the other hand, united in one word Jamaica, signifies the core of her artistic inspiration. It is an idealized world, a land of eternal sun and summertime. Dragana wishes a life for her scarves on women who will always choose the sunny side of the street.

I think she cares about giving the artwork exclusiveness of her personal touch. That is why an emotional, artistic profile prevails above a weaker tendency toward branding. Which, of course, I consider a realistic prospect.

Woman and “I the mother” silk scarf, the author`s fiction with the lush vegetation of Jamaica

Scarf functions iconic Hermes – a universal accessory in modern clothing

…Well, last night, I fell asleep really confused, with a mess of data, impressions, and doubts. But, as the morning is always more clear-minded than the evening, I summarized my conclusion about the scarves in modernity into a simple structure. The headscarf, a traditional head covering originating from rural culture, got a lot of innovative functions. It is partial concealment for various reasons, depending on the culture. But the desire to be charming and chic grows up.

So today, grandmothers tie themselves with scarves, as many generations of women before them did. They protect themselves from the cold outside in the winter. Like inside in business, especially with food. Or a well-dressed woman will add a scarf or scarf as a decorative detail for going out. For fans of brands, the prestigious piece will add the desired drop of luxury to the overall impression. And here is a different case with a passionate weaver. Her outfit is regularly supplemented with new models of scarves, shawls, or capes.

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A granny with a scarf and her grandchildren
The Chef’s scarf, contemporary kitchen in Hotel Pavilion, Belgrade

Twilly scarf wristlet fancy detail
Dear Svetlana master weaver, Novi Sad, exhibits and wears her handmade shawl

Finally, I think that the choices of the woman majority are according to their tastes. Or others are sometimes influenced by famous brands. But women usually search, find, and use sources to purchase scarves for themselves only. It can be a mass offer, handmade scarf, second-hand offer, or a brand. I really believe as inappropriate to comment on or evaluate those sources. But consider the only important fact for a person, to find the most favorite just right scarf.

I am waiting here until the next reading

A new proposition:
Related to the Comment, I entered the tool for digital attachments, i. e. image, text, and HTML codes. I hope it will motivate readers to add new examples with essential identification.
Further, if work, I want to establish a separate post from it in the form of a gallery. Maybe, “Scarves around the World” can be developed with our cooperation.
As for my mini-series, I still have part 6 to go about scarves, mine, and my family’s. With some photos and preserved old copies.
I will continue with other topics, but I want to give this “gallery” attempt a chance.

Wishing you all the best

Sincerely, Branka on Textiles

One thought on “Why do women wear scarves? Part V: Contemporary scarf, iconic Hermes, as a multifunctional accessory

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