After such a difficult year, I wanted to treat my nearest and dearest to extra special gifts to make up for not spending as much time together. It’s quite difficult to come up with meaningful gifts that can be of use when we are spending a majority of time at home. Normally I’d book a trip, get tickets for a concert or book an experience as it’s good to make memories together however that wasn’t practical and I had to think outside the box.
Hermès is well known as one of the world’s most exclusive luxury brands. Originally established as equestrian brand, it has developed and transformed over time with the focus now on leather goods, ready to wear, textiles and homewares. It’s a brand I’ve always admired but felt it to be out of reach. I see the queues outside the stores in Paris each time I visit and respect the determination people have to have in order to secure a coveted Birkin or Kelly. It’s a game of cat and mouse and more often than not, the mouse wins.
I discovered the Hermès pop-up book through TikTok which is probably the last place I ever expected to find such a thing but that is the magic of social media. I then did some googling and realised that it would make the perfect gift for a friend. I could have ordered through Amazon and have it delivered the next day however I wanted the full Hermès experience especially as it was a gift. The book was sold out online and I commenced a virtual or ‘socially distanced’ game of cat and mouse whereby I checked the website 500 times per day to see if it came back in stock. One morning I woke up around 4am and immediately checked. It was in stock but by the time I added to my bag and entered my card details, it had gone. I was so close yet so far…
London was already in lockdown with shops closed and we were about to enter Tier 4 here in Scotland when I almost accepted defeat. When the stores opened again on 12th December, I decided to call and see if it was in stock in the Glasgow boutique within House of Fraser. After a short period of time on hold, the lovely sales assistant advised the book was not in stock in Glasgow however the Royal Exchange Square boutique in London had 13 copies and they could arrange payment and delivery. I honestly almost fell off my chair. I reserved two copies along with two copies of the ‘Les Metamorphoses’ Sketchbook. The sales associate advised the store would be closed on Sunday 13th December but to expect a call back by Wednesday 16th December. I received an email from the store at 10:15am on Monday 14th December confirming my order and shortly after, a link was sent enabling me to arrange secure payment. The goods arrived by FedEx courier on Wednesday 16th December and I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to open a cardboard box.
I’m going to be completely honest and say I was slightly disappointed the items were not in a gift box. I know it’s just a box however as one copy of each book was a gift, I wanted the receiver to have the full experience. I understand if ordered from the website they would have arrived in the famous orange box however they were nicely gift wrapped by the store and packaged extremely well for delivery.
Although the books are small and not quite comparable to coffee table books, they are sublimely stunning. The pop-up book is exquisite and the level of detail is incredible. They have somehow managed to translate it perfectly on paper and you can really get a sense of the craftsmanship involved with the brand. The book itself is an experience and the ideal distraction on a cold, grey and otherwise miserable January day.
The sketchbook is beautifully illustrated with vivid colours and an insight to the Hermès history and design. Although written in French, there is an English transcription enclosed which is really helpful.
I’m so happy I managed to secure these books for my friend and also a copy for myself. I will truly cherish these and enjoy them regularly as a source of inspiration and admiration.