Thank you Lu and Jami for sending in this article!
Like me, you probably have a box of scrap materials lying around somewhere – patches of lace, a nice length of grosgrain ribbon, buttons and any other bits and bobs that in true “Mum” fashion, might become useful one day – she thinks wistfully. Sadly in my case, that box has become a cabinet stuffed full of such paraphernalia. I’ve long given up on any of it becoming actually “useful”.
Then again, my scraps are far and away from the scraps that Pascale Mussard, creative director of Hermès’ upcycled line Petit h, has been squirrelling away over the years. Mussard is the great-great-great-granddaughter of the humble saddlemaker Thierry Hermès, and has long been a part of the Hermès establishment as the business has always been kept within the family.
Mussard has worked as headed up fabric buying for women’s ready to wear, advertising and public relations, visual merchandising before becoming co-artistic director in the noughts alongside Pierre-Alexis Dumas. Then in 2010, Petit h was born as a way of alleviating the amount of waste materials that Hermès produces, and it became Mussard’s calling.
Speaking with Mussard at the Petit h atelier in Pantin, on the outskirts of Paris, her eyes literally light up when asked to talk about her love of Petit h. In many ways, it’s an unorthodox initiative. Sustainability isn’t an issue that many houses have directly addressed with many still choosing to destroy defected or surplus goods.
More important than sustainability though for Mussard is the word “care” or more specifically, “to take care”. Petit h, is not a sanctimonious green initiative but rather, a unique metier that continues in Hermès’ tradition of upholding values of supreme craftsmanship, unquestionable quality and longevity.
Mussard comes from a generation where postwar thriftiness was ingrained in her and whilst running around the then-small ateliers of Hermès, she was also taught to respect the materials and craftsmen at hand. “Make, do and mend” and “Waste Not, Want Not” although English in origin, were phrases that Mussard was more than familiar with as she grew up inventing recipes out of leftovers, taking part in school plays wearing off cut leather costumes (imagine a donkey costume made out of beautiful Hermès grey leather!) and wrapping up Christmas presents beautifully out of found materials (even if the contents weren’t as illustrious).
Read the rest of the article here. The article has amazing pictures of the petit h ateliers.
Follow petit h in five Youtube episodes:
Episode n°2: Materials comes first!
Episode n°3: We learn something new every day!
Episode n°4: That’s what petit h is all about!
Episode n°5: Let’s cast anchor at rue de Sèvres!
Photo and text credit: All images and text courtesy of Stylebubble.co.uk