Beauty Out In The Open – My Hermès Scarf Collection

Our series of hidden beauty (here) takes a break today, to give way to a kind of beauty that is right out there in the open, that is an end in itself, that has no other goal than to be beautiful – Hermès silk scarfs.

Hermès scarfs

A photo posted by Olfactoria (@olfactoria) on

What I love most about them are the colors. I wear a uniform of neutrals, mostly black, dark brown, navy and dark grey, so this is how I add color and interest to my wardrobe.

In the world of Hermès orange is a neutral. :)

My first Hermès scarf was a gift from an old boyfriend, it is safe to say this was the best thing he ever did… Turqueries II, 90cm Carré

Hermès Turqueries II

A photo posted by Olfactoria (@olfactoria) on

This one is called Brides Rebelles, 90cm Carré. My husband gave it to me for a birthday many years ago. Pink is very much my color, even if I often restisted it in order not to appear too girlish.

Hermès Brides Rebelles

A photo posted by Olfactoria (@olfactoria) on

This Swingin’ St Germain 70cm Vintage Carré has a fantastic design that I like to look at more than wear it, because some scarfs are fantastic when folded, but this one is better when simply admired.

Hermès St. Germain

A photo posted by Olfactoria (@olfactoria) on

Mademoiselle Soie, 45cm Pochette is a small format that is very practical when it is warmer or when you want somehing chic, fun and low maintenance. Mine has the distinction of not only smelling deliciously of Roja Dove’s Unspoken, but also having been complimented by Roja Dove himself (who was wearing a fantastic scarf called Ex Libris en Kimono the day I met him).

Hermès Mademoiselle Soie

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I was drawn to this design called Cent Plis de Miao, 90cm Carré both by the name and the colorway. It depicts a skirt that is intricately pleated, which is worn by the women of the Miao tribe in China.

Hermès Cent Plis de Miao

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Circuit Faubourg 24, 90cm Carré is probably the scarf I wear the most. The colors are extremely versatile and the abstract pattern of Chain d’Ancre links looks great no matter how the scarf is folded.

Hermès Circuit 24

A photo posted by Olfactoria (@olfactoria) on

Parures de Maharajah, 90cm Carré is my latest acquisition, it joined the club last Christmas. It is so delicately and intricately beautiful, I am almost hesitant to wear it. It’s light colorway is suited to spring, so as soon as the temperatures rise again, it will come out for sure.

Hermès Parures de Maharajah

A photo posted by Olfactoria (@olfactoria) on

Virages 70cm Vintage Carré is a workhorse scarf. It adds a bright splash of color and I find abstract (and symmetrical) designs to be more easily wearable in general.

Hermès Virages

A photo posted by Olfactoria (@olfactoria) on

My Hermès scarves are a huge source of joy for me. They are expensive, but they make an entire outfit. My clothes are mostly from H&M, but a scarf makes me look like a million bucks and will never be ill-fitting or out of style. It is an investment in my wardrobe that makes sense to me.

Hermès scarfs 2

A photo posted by Olfactoria (@olfactoria) on

And here is a final snapshot of the mothership (well, the small Viennese one at least). A pilgrimage to 24 rue Faubourg St Honoré is still in my future…

Hermès Vienna

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111 Responses to Beauty Out In The Open – My Hermès Scarf Collection

  1. OMG! There is an island nations GDP in those pictures!!
    Love them, especially that black & white Swingin’ St Germain. JEALOUS!!
    Portia xx

  2. Jordan River says:

    OMGoodness – kick up your heels in St Germain. Your collection is indefensible Olfactoria!

  3. Dubaiscents says:

    What a wonderful collection! I completely agree that they are worth the investment, clothes will go in and out of style but these scarves are timeless and you can both wear them and admire them as art! Thanks for sharing!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Glad to see you have a similar attitude towards them. Many think they are useless luxury, but I really think they are a lifetime investment (and unlike perfume they never turn. ;) )

  4. Sandra says:

    Beautiful collection of scarves that you have there! Thank you for sharing. I love wearing scarves as they brighten my mood with the vibrant colors and keep me warm.

  5. cookie queen says:

    Wow! An art collection. I am such a peasant clothing wise, a total scruffbag. BUT I am so going to this store in a couple of weeks. Credit card in tow ……. one never knows. Never say never. ;)

  6. Claudia Bloemendal says:

    I can hardly think of a better way to start my day than admiring your beautiful scarf collection. Hermes just makes the most wonderful scarves. They are expensive, but it’s an long term investment, because you can practically wear them forever. And you are right, they can totally make your outfit! I did visit the 24, Faubourg last year and I managed to walk away with “just” a bottle of Ambre Narguile. This year I hope to return to buy my first Hermes scarf.

  7. brie says:

    utterly gorgeous!!!!!! Like you my wardrobe leans towards my favorite colors:gray, black and white (with an occasional splash of red). Perhaps I should start my own Hermes scarf collection? Hubby would kill me :) !!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you!!! :)
      You could start small and maybe hubby will even love to gift you with one. Somehow my sartorially entirely uninterested husband finds these charming and (surprisingly) necessary for me.

      • brie says:

        My hubby is too much of a pragmatist :( ! I could not see him spending money on a scarf….but I would :) !!! They are absolutely gorgeous! and btw, the dialogue between you Portia and husband was too funny!

  8. poodle says:

    Those are really nice. I don’t have anything that special in my closet. My wardrobe could use a complete overhaul. I do have nice accessories and jewelry but I’m usually still half asleep when I’m getting dressed and never bother to mix things up with them.
    That Maharajah scarf is really beautiful. It looks so exotic. Thanks for sharing your collection with us.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Your are welcome, thanks for looking, poodle!
      I always decide what to wear the evening before, at 5.30 am I’m not capable of decision making of any kind. :)

  9. Vanessa says:

    Gorgeous collection – I would pay good money to see those displayed in a textile museum, like the one in St Gallen I didn’t in fact go into, because the entrance price was a bit steep. :-). But what I mean is that they are more works of art than mere garments. You need a daughter now to leave them to!

    My fanciest scarf is a Liberty square neckerchief one that is 30 years old maybe, in lovely shades of tan, cream and black. I do find some surprisingly nice scarves on T K Maxx. There was even one by Givenchy in there the other day(!), reduced to about £50 from I don’t know what.

    Yes, I can see why your love of Hermes would mean you needed to make economies in the rest of your wardrobe, but am guessing your padded black coat didn’t come from H & M, mind. That looked pretty high end even to my untrained eye!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Well, you of all people know about the importance of a good coat! ;)

      Liberty has wonderful scarves, I spent some lovely hours in their scarf room (fancy that, a room dedicated to scarfs – paradise!)

      They are wearable works of art, which seems to be the kind of art I’m drawn to most. ;)
      I’m sure I’ll find an heir though without having another child…

      • Vanessa says:

        Haha, I do indeed know the importance of a good coat, not least for scoring scent samples in Hermes itself!, and my padded one says it met its match in yours. :-)

        LOL re finding a suitable heir without having to do so “in-house”!

      • brie says:

        Although I still say you should have another child, perhaps a future daughter in law will inherit your lovely scarf collection! (and the other daughter in law your perfumes :) !!)

    • Vanessa says:

      Quite liking Coach and Les Cannes in blue….! Then the tiger and Native American designs not so much. They don’t seem to mesh with the more stylised designs in the rest of the range.

      • Vanessa says:

        Shame they don’t seem to do your Maharajah one anymore. That is my favourite, I reckon! Am I too old to pop in your will? Thought so…;-)

        • Olfactoria says:

          It’s no longer on the website, but possibly they still have it in stores. London has five (six if you count the airport) Hermès stores (Harrod’s, Selfridges, New Bond Street, Sloane Street, Royal Exchange) Just a piece of information I happen to retain in my otherwise sieve-like brain. ;)

      • Olfactoria says:

        I prefer the less naturalistic designs as well.

  10. kristeels says:

    As much as I love scarfs, I never know how to wear them and with what clothes.. I just can’t figure it out :P

  11. A most lovely and diverse collection! Thanks for sharing!
    I do like the Brides Rebelles your husband gave you, such a sweet thought. (Mine spoiled me with some of the enamel bracelets from the same house and they’re among my most loved possessions, so versatile too). My latest scarf addition was the Brazil motif in black and bright colors of purple, green orange….heavy silk, just beautiful.
    And yes, a good scarf or -a great accessory in general, with few exceptions like shoes- “makes me look like a million bucks and will never be ill-fitting or out of style.” Imagine: I have my mother’s AND my grandmother’s silk scarfs and some accessories and I think I will hand them down in my turn too!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Elena,
      I’m glad you enjoyed this post!
      Everything the house of Hermès does is the essence of style and elegance for me. I always admire the enamel bracelets, one of these days I hope to own one as well. The Brazil is a gorgeous design, congratulations on your newest collection member. :)
      Some things are for life and everything Hermès surely belongs in that category. My future daughters in law are lucky girls (and not only because they get my sons! ;) )

  12. Figuier says:

    These are beautiful, thanks for sharing! I’m a scarf person too, and rarely go out without one. Although Hermes is well out of my league, and the climate dictates wool/cashmere over silk, I am similarly enamoured of the bright splash of colour scarves can bring to a workaday outfit. And, as you say, they last so well…

    The pink and gold one is my favourite I think :)

  13. muza says:

    Beautiful! Parures de Maharajah stole my heart :)

  14. Alexandra says:

    Gosh they really are beautiful and what a lovely thing to collect. Plus I agree with Roja (hee!) the Mademoiselle Soie is especially gorgeous.

    I have a dangerous soft spot for handbags so I have to keep well away from Hermes…

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh, don’t get me started on Hermès handbags… I’m not there yet, but eventually I will be (nothing as ostentatious as a Birkin for me though, also the prices are obcene. Hermès has si many gorgeous bags that are under the radar and more affordable, well, relatively speaking. ;) )
      When we next meet in London, we could do a little tour around the accessories department at Selfridges or Harrods and compare handbag notes. :)

  15. Annina says:

    Gorgeous collection, Birgit! I’ve always longed to be clever with scarves. Like you, my warrobe is neutral. Maybe a dumb question, but Ddoes Hermes provide wearing/tying instructions, or do you just get creative?

    I went to the Hermes store in Chicago in the fall (and was ignored). I stared and stared at the beautiful scarves. What amazing color and pattern combinations, there is certainly one (or five!) for everyone!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hermès gives instructions. They used to have little booklets, now they are cards, that they give out upon request along with a scarf purchase. Those instructions are also available online as a pdf on their website (just click on “play with your scarf” on any scarf page).
      There are also blogs, my favorite is MaiTai’s Picture Book (see link a few comments up).
      It’s fun trying new knots!

  16. Farouche says:

    What a beautiful collection! I have two Hermes scarves and and two enamel bracelets, all presents from my husband. As much as I admire the scarves, it’s the bracelets that get heavy wear. One is a deconstructed pattern in black and white with orange, very neutral ;) The other is aqua and coral interlocking horse heads in the same pattern as your beautiful bottle of 24 Faubourg. Love them!

  17. carole macleod says:

    Your collection is amazing! I have the Shakleton scarf-it’s light blue, with a few spots of vivid green. It’s beautiful.

    I have two from my mom, too-a large black cashmere one, with birds of paradise and tropical flowers, and a deep dark blue Le Carre one, with bits of orange detailing. I tend to save hers more, and wear my own. They are all really beautiful to look at-I love textiles as art!

  18. ringthing says:

    So beautiful! *happy sigh* Thank you so much for sharing these. :-)

  19. lorraine says:

    Oh my, what a stunning collection. Mademoiselle Soie is a beauty, but Brides Rebelles is my favourite. I justify high end purchases with the simple knowledge that if everything were to go to hell, I can always sell them ;).

  20. shellyw says:

    Hermes toured to San Francisco this fall. They had crafts people from watchmakers, leather work, crystal engraving, etc… and of course silk screen printing of scarves. The man translating for the man doing the work was great, knowledgeable and fun. There was a huge crowd watching him the whole time. I believe he said a minimum of 45+ screens for a scarf. The next time I went to the very high-end second hand shop a town over, I noticed 4 hermes scarves still in boxes. Even second hand is beyond me, but I really enjoyed looking at them much more having seen the process.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I read about that, it must have been great! Glad you could attend.
      I hope to catch one of their artisan showcases sometime in the future.

    • Tatiana says:

      Shellyw, would you mind sharing the name of this second hand shop in The Bay Area?Thanks,

      • shellyw says:

        It is in Menlo Park on El Camino near Santa Cruz Ave. There is a furniture side and a clothing side. Afterwards I believe is the name. There is parking on the street behind.

        • Tatiana says:

          OMgosh! Shelly we are neighbors. I live less than a mile from that store. When I first got married and we were struggling, my husband used to buy suits there. At that time it was a temple to all things Ralph Lauren. I think I need to go check it out once again. Thanks for sharing.

          • shellyw says:

            I asked about perfumes last time I was in but they did not have any. I would love an Hermes perfume!

  21. Lady Jane Grey says:

    I own some (a.o. a vintage one with the parfum bottles), but I only wear one of them (you know, the big black cashmere one with the yellow tiger). I rather see them as collectible – they are far too colourful for my conservative, black-loving taste. I’m also having a problem to wear them with that careless, legere elegance – they always look so formal on me.

  22. lucasai says:

    That’s quite a lot of Hermes scarves.

  23. Suzanne says:

    Oh Birgit, these are gorgeous – and great investments in so many ways.

    Mademoiselle Soie is especially beautiful, though I think my favorite would be the Circuit Faubourg 24 that you say you wear the most often. That chocolate brown shade is so rich, and the chain pattern is stunning and timeless. I can easily imagine you wearing it — the colors seem really suited to you, and they even match up (in my mind, anyway) to the kinds of fragrances you like to wear – those ambers of various hefts (including your lightweight-favorite amber from Hermes). :)

    • Olfactoria says:

      I love that Mademoiselle Soie has so many famous designs united in one tiny package. :)

      Circuit 24 Faubourg is stunning, it was I could do not to start dancing and squealing right there in the store when I found it, because it was love at first sight, but I never thought I would find it in that particular colorway, it was long sold out everywhere, but I got lucky.

      I recently saw silk throw pillows at Hermés with this design in shades of light taupe, sigh… in another life. :)

  24. Oh, such wonderful scarves! I especially like the one based on a pleated skirt. Your fashion strategy is also smart and classy. The only silk scarves I have are from the Metropolitan Museum or Smithsonian catalog. They have some nice designs and the price is right. Since I’m retired, I am not as careful about dressing with style although I always smell quite nice.. I should do better. Time to go shopping. (-:
    Fond regards, Anita

    • Olfactoria says:

      The Cent Plis scarf is so versatile, it’s like four scarves in one, because it looks very different depending on how you fold it.

      Habe fun shopping, Anita! Fond regards right back!

  25. Amy Bella says:

    I must say that this collection stirred up more envy in me than your perfume collection! I completely agree that orange is a neutral and a good scarf absolutely makes an outfit.

  26. Miss Woolf says:

    I agree with Amy Bella. I no longer only envy your perfume collection… this collection is stunning. I especially like the one your husband bought you Brides Rebelles. And the Mademoiselle Soie is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I was a bit nervous about showing them, because I feared nobody might be interested at all, but apparently I was wrong. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Åsa! :)

  27. Enjoyed seeing your scarves, Birgit. All of them lovely, just like you. :)

  28. Tatiana says:

    What a beautiful collection, thanks for sharing this with us. And thanks for sharing the link to MaiTai’s site. I have many scarves, but rarely wear them since I’m at a loss how to tie or wear them stylishly. (I fall for the beautiful colors and patterns and cannot resist buying.) I remember seeing a photo of you with your hair swept up and you were wearing a camel coat and looking very classic and chic! Truly an inspiration for those of us who are stylishly challenged.

  29. These are so very beautiful.

    Your comments made me laugh and think of Diana Vreelands remark to the photographer Norman Parkinson after a technicolor shoot for Vogue on the sub-Continent: “How clever of Mr Parkinson to know that pink is the navy blue of India”.

    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  30. fleurdelys says:

    I LOVE scarves! I have a bunch of them, but no Hermes unfortunately. I envy you your lovely collection (hmm, maybe the next splurge will have to be a scarf, rather than perfume). What is your favorite way to tie them?

    • Olfactoria says:

      I mostly do a basic bias fold and go from there. I’ve gotten pretty good at knotting, if may say so myself, so I vary a lot.
      In winter when more warmth is appreciated, I often wear a cowboy knot, because it is very cosy.

  31. Eva S says:

    I’ve been thinking about buying some Hermes scarfs, but I hadn’t the time when I last visited the Hermes boutique. Although I could probably use some tutorial on knitting first…
    At present I only own one (1!) proper silk scarf-black heavy silk from Alexander McQueen with the skulls and butterflies.
    What do you think is the best way of storing scarfs-hanging?or folded?

    • happyface313 says:

      I think folding is the best way to keep a scarf. Try folding them the way they do in the Hermés shop – that way the won’t wrinkle and they’ll stay in shape! :-) I keep mine that way too and haven’t had any problems this way. The silk is heavy and so they’ll straighten out. Enjoy! :-)

    • Olfactoria says:

      I have them in their (open) boxes in a drawer, so they get air, but are still protected.

    • fleurdelys says:

      Although I have no Hermes, I own a variety of scarves both in silk and synthetic materials. To store them, I use the kinds of hangers made for pants, with a double bar on the bottom, one wood (or plastic) and one metal. The bottom bar unhooks so you can slide the pants onto it, then re-hook. The material is held secure between the wooden bar and the metal bar. This mechanism is perfect for scarves as slippery materials won’t slide off. Depending on the size of the scarf, I’ll fold it in half, thirds, or not at all, and drape it over the bottom bar. I’ve organized them into color families. They hang in my closet right next to my clothes, where I can see them and grab one while I get dressed.

  32. happyface313 says:

    I LOVE your scarves! My CENT PLIS DE MIAO is pink and black ;-) and it’s just so, so pretty! You’re right – one can wear H&M or C&A basics – a nice scarf will add class and style and one will look a million $$$ :-)
    In summer I wear them as belts, or fold them only once or twice and wear them with a simple dress, jeans or or or :-) xo

  33. Nancysg says:

    I join in thanking you for sharing your gorgeous scarf collection. Beauty comes in many different forms and each one is a work of art. Your future daughter in laws are very lucky if they get to share these pieces of wearable gems. I have a few scarves that were my Mother’s and they are a wonderful memory when I wear them.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Nancy! I love to hear that you are wearing your mothers scarfs, I own one silk scarf from my mother (not an Hermès one) and it is very important to me.

  34. TaffyJ says:

    Wow…these scarves are so beautiful! I’ve always wanted to be a scarf person, but the scarves end up in disarray before I even leave the house. I think we need to see photos of you modelling these lovely creations. :)

    • Olfactoria says:

      Well, those photos won’t materialize any time soon, I fear. There are people who do that so much better than I ever could.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Taffy!

  35. Joan says:

    Stunning! My favorite is the swing dancing one!

    My boss at a consignment clothing store I worked in had a collection of Hermes scarves. She had one with perfume bottles all over it. A stunner.

  36. Lila says:

    I love this post! I just spent almost 2 hours on that Mai Thai blog!! I have always been intrigued by the idea of getting an Hermes scarf but I wasn’t sure if I would use it much. After watching all those videos, I want one in every size and color!! :) Can’t wait to visit Hermes for something other than their perfumes.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m so glad you find this as interesting as I do. It’s such fun playing with different styles and only one scarf takes you far when tying it differently every time. Have fun on your next Hermès trip. :)

  37. Undina says:

    I prefer longer scarves to square ones (though I do have a couple of square scarves inmy wardrobe) and I wear them often but not as a part of the “indoor” outfit but as an outer wear – with coats and jackets.

    Until I started reading your blog and learned about asoftspot you have for Hermes scarves the idea that regular people (those whose wardrobe isn’t built from simple and elegant pieces with four digit price tags) would pay several hundred dollars on a scarf. Well, that’s probably how most normal people feel about our perfume purchases ;)

    I’m not sure I’m ready to do it myself yet but you’ve changed something in how I view these items now. So maybe one day…

    • Olfactoria says:

      Yes, I do consider myself a normal person (don’t ask my husband though!) and I buy Hermès scarfs. :)

      I have a few (low-cost) longer scarfs too, and I enjoy wearing them as well, as they offer different possiblities.

  38. Natalie says:

    So pretty! Thanks for inviting us into your collection. I have recently become a scarf person (well, a square silk scarf person – I have always liked “outdoor” scarves), so it was a treat to see all these beautiful styles. And of course your husband should know that all of those scarves were purchased for at least 75% off, right? Because we all know about the infamous Hermes “sales.” ;)

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you for mentioning this, Natalie! Of course my scarves are all sales items! ;)
      I’m glad you enjoyed seeing my collection. Now I’d love to see yours!

  39. Kimberly says:

    Wow! Late to the party, but congratulations! These are just gorgeous!

  40. What a beautiful collection! I am a scarf person too, but my tastes run in the kind of giant scarves that can double as beach towels or duvet covers :-)

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