The Circle Of Life – Hermès De La Mer Au Ciel Scarves

Today I want to show you two scarves – sisters – that share the same design in a different colourway. It shows very well how completely different two scarves of the same design can look, depending on the colours.

De la Mer au Ciel is a design that was launched in 2014 (the year of Metamorphosis) and it was created by Laurence Bourthoumieux (who signs her work with the nom de plume Toutsy). It is in the classic size, 90x90cm.

De la Mer au Ciel depicts a scene of sea and sky, where the fish emerge from the water on one side and turn into birds, on the other side the metamorphosis runs in the other direction, birds turn into fish again and go back into the churning sea. Clouds and waves intermingle in this rather busy design, but there is a softness to it that attracts me, a curvy symmetry that is both dynamic and whimsical.

photo 1 (12)

The first scarf is done in neutral colours: grey, navy, black and a soft off-white give us a rather sombre image of sea and sky.

photo 3 (13)

The second one has a lighter athmosphere. Beige, vanilla. soft green and a bright corally red make up the scene here and promptly we get to see it in a wholly different light.

photo 2 (14)

A very  interesting thing about this scarf is also its versatility when tied. You can have a grey scarf or a blue one, depending on the diagonal you choose to show when folded.

photo 3 (12)

Same with the light colourway, I can choose which corners to show, which diagonal to fold along to get very different results.

photo 4 (13)

photo 3 (15)


This is how they look when worn around the neck.

photo 4 (10)

photo 1 (15)


Let’s have a look at a few details now. The centre shows the scarf’s name as well as the swirly centre of the churning sea.

photo (3)

photo 3 (14)

The details are clearer in the lighter colourway, while in the darker one you have to actively go looking for the fish and plants.

photo 1 (14)

Here we see fish swimming in a coral reef, again the lighter colours provide a clearer picture, while the darker one seems more abstract.

photo 2 (15)

I love this design because it is tapping into my love for the magical. The circle of fish turning into birds turning into fish seems so beautiful to me. The fish gaining the skies, even for only a short time seems hopeful and optimistic. It is not exactly how evolution worked, but that is not the point of the design anyway, it is a flight of fancy rather than a nod to Darwin.

I bought the first (dark) one through and found the second one after a long search on, which is tantalizingly inaccessible for Europeans. But that is what fumie friends are for, isn’t it? Enter Daisy, an amazing food blogger, perfume fiend and great friend who resides in New York City. She nabbed the scarf for me, had it delivered to the Madison Avenue store where I picked it up on my trip to NY last November. Surely another story of acquisition I will never forget.

Do you like this design? Do you prefer one scarf over the other? Which one and why?


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46 Responses to The Circle Of Life – Hermès De La Mer Au Ciel Scarves

  1. Sabine says:

    Love the design. In both colourways, actually. For myself I would chose the black one for its mysterious elegance and the way the design almost looks like an abstract painting.

  2. Annette says:

    Two beautiful scarves. The first one, for me, illustrates how I feel when I am somewhat stressed and would be wonderfully expressive to wear at such a time!! However, when you look at the fish on the folds, it calms down and you can see the details much more clearly…
    I love the colours on the second scarf and would wear this one when I am in a much better mood and feel cheerful and in the mood for fun (hopefully!) Very clever designs and one could spend hours looking at them.

  3. annemariec says:

    Unfolded I prefer the vanilla one, but folded, I think I like the blue one. The detail in the blue one confuses me a bit when opened out, but folded, the blue one is active and dynamic. The vanilla, when folded, loses a but of its character. They are both lovely though.

    How extraordinary it would be to be a scarf designer. Your design has to work no matter how it’s folded. And people would never get to see the whole thing. What other art forms is like that? 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Same here, Annemarie, I prefer the dark one when folded, but love to look at the light one (might be a wall candidate).
      Many of Hermès’ scarf designers are artists too, so they do get to see some of their stuff unfolded. 😉

  4. ringthing says:

    I love both color ways and the design may be my favorite of the beautiful scarves that you have featured. The darker one is the most appealing to me as it seems the most versatile and I would enjoy poring over the details but of course the vanilla/coral is stunning as well. As always, thanks for sharing your collection!

  5. shellyw says:

    I wiah I had read Ofactoria before I saw the Hermes workman demo that toured. I saw an artist adding color to a design and a silk screening scarf demo. Cool then, but it would be much more fun now that I have a bit of info and background

  6. Rosalie says:

    Hi “sister”..
    We share not only our love for perfumes but also for Hermès–And guess what… the only design that I have in two different Cw it’s… De la mer au ciel!!!!
    One in warm colours( marron/viex rose/ bleu) and the other one in colder tones bleu jean /ciel/corail!!!

    Birds of a feather……

    Regards from Barcelona!!!!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Rosalie,
      how lovely to hear from you, sister! 🙂
      You obviously have excellent taste! 😉
      I love the second one you describe, in light blues, I was very tempted to get this too, but I can’t justify three off he same (well, if I win the lottery then maybe… 😉 )

  7. anitathepianist says:

    What beautiful objects to own and wear..As far as I know, no one else makes such fantastic scarves. I have a large collection, but nothing with the beauty of these. A new obsession is about to bloom..Thanks for sharing them with us.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I agree, when it comes to scarves Hermès is second to none.
      So happy you enjoy reading these posts, Anita.
      (I get a lot of “hate” comments on them too that I delete, apparently Hermès – or luxury in general – creates very controversial opinions).

      • anitathepianist says:

        Birgit, “Hate” comments show up on many forums. It’s not only luxury that brings out the worst in people; there is just an abundance of negativity and cruelty out there in the world. I was accused last week of having a “spy” FB page that was set up to foster a particular writer’s take on the Kennedy assassination. So, there is delusion as well as the other personality disorders that come into view. Ignoring and deleting is the best approach. Then clean your mind of all the ugliness and not let it bother your lovely self..Best regards, Anita.

        • Olfactoria says:

          Thank you, Anita! I know these comments crop up anywhere, I’ve been relatively lucky so far, when it was all about perfume, I got very few. Fumies are a good bunch. But these new direction seems to be more incensing…
          But you are right, delete and forget is the best way to deal with them.

  8. Suzanne says:

    Oh, I love the cream, green and coral red version! I like looking at it flat the best, it’s so pretty, but I also like it folded on the diagonal that you show in the second of those two pictures, where there is not a lot of the design showing but a lot of the cream color with a bit of red.

    Birgit, I think these posts are fascinating – you’re doing a great job with them. I never think about tying scarves, I always wear them looped in one of two ways, so it’s nice to see these photos (which perhaps one day will guide me to do something more with my scarves). 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      I imagine that the cream scarf would suit you perfectly, Suz.
      Thanks for your kind words of encouragement. As I mentioned in the above comment, not everyone finds these posts to their liking and although I know I shouldn’t I take these troll comments to heart, I do let them get me down. 😦
      So thanks again! xx

  9. Sandra says:

    Why oh why did I pass this one up? What was I thinking? Beautiful scarves dear Birgit. I love reading about them and seeing how you tie them.

  10. Vanessa says:

    These designs are both so detailed, I could look at them for hours! I especially like the challenge of having to go and ‘actively look’ for the fish and plants – it adds to the sense of mystique / intrigue. I think they are each beautiful in their way, but I would probably find the darker one more useful in my wardrobe. I am finding the different folding techniques particularly interesting – I bet you’d be a whizz at origami too!

  11. marjo56 says:

    Beautiful scarves, both of them, but it’s the black and blue one that I can’t stop looking at. The scarf reminds me of the novels by Gabriel García Márquez: It’s what I imagine magical realism looks like.😍 Thank you for sharing them!

  12. Preska says:

    The first one. Even though i always stay away from dark colors when choosing an Hermes, this carre is really elegant and sophisticated.

  13. stina says:

    I’ve never been much of a scarf person, but these scarves are so lovely and intriguing that I can’t resist! Thanks for sharing them… especially the black/grey/pale yellow colourway of Minuit au Faubourg (that would be first on my list). Like marjo56 said, they embody magical realism.

    More, please!

  14. Hiya Birgit,
    Did I ever tell you that my Mum wore scarves? I’m pretty sure we’ve had this conversation, not a collector but she had maybe a dozen. She didn’t have Hermes but a few other designers and all of them bought when she was younger so they were excellent 50s & 60s and a very few from the 70s & 80s. I could totally imagine her owning the colourful version of this scarf. It’s brought on a lovely rush of nostalgia for her.
    Portia xx

  15. Tiffanie says:

    How beautiful both scarves are. True works of art, and proof of the usefulness of art in our lives.

    I find myself becoming obsessed with another version of De La Mer au Ciel, the grey and pale blue colorway. It makes me think of a cooling dip in an ocean teeming with life . . . thank you for sharing your treasures!

  16. rickyrebarco says:

    These are very beautiful. I like big scarves but I’m not sure I could afford a really big Hermes scarf. Something to save for, though! These ones are perfect for you Birgit since you are a lovely slim person. I’m a bigger gal so I have to “go big or go home” with scarves-lol. I like the Eileen Fisher scarves- reasonably priced and kind of an older lady ‘boho” look. Keep the pictures coming- I’m enjoying seeing these beautiful scarves!!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I do love bigger sizes as well, where you can wrap yourself in the material, and I agree that the big ones are very expensive at Hermès (which has not entirely stopped me though ;), there are a few big ones coming in posts further down the line).

      • rickyrebarco says:

        Oh, goody! I’ll stay tuned. I see some beautiful ones on Ebay listed sometimes by a lady who is a personal shopper in Paris. They are gorgeous. When I see one that is really “me” I’m sure I will succumb. I love the vibrancy of the colors.

  17. Eva S says:

    I didn’t get this one at the time, though I was tempted, the pattern is lovely! I would prefer the darker one, to wear anyway.

    • Olfactoria says:

      They will bring the design back eventually, since it was a very successful one I believe. So you might get another chance to think about it in the future.

  18. Get thee away temptress! Love your Hermes scarf series always but it does rather make one want one. Love the dark blue best – it would go with anything, blue-jeans or a little black dress. I can imagine you look very beautiful with both Birgit. Enjoy.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hehe, I should put a warning on these posts, Hermèsism is contagious. 😉
      Whenever I see vibrant and colourful scarves that I can’t pull off, I think of you and how perfectly they would suit you.

  19. Nemo says:

    I love this design 🙂 Waves are so evocative, and I like how the fish “pop” in the lighter colorway. It is also kind of fun how the fish look like they are sneaking about in the lovely darker blue and black scarf as well! Clearly one would need both.

  20. Tatiana says:

    It’s bad enough I have an addiction to so many Hermes perfumes, reading this I’m longing for a scarf or two. I doubt I would ever wear them though, so best not to be tempted. They really are works of art! While I like them both, the navy one really speaks to me. I love it’s dark murkiness and that fact that you really need to hunt to find the images within it. Of to to do some late night browsing.

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