Today I want to show you the first large size scarf in this series. Cent Plis de Miao (One hundred pleats of Miao – a province in China) was designed by Aline Honoré and first released in 2010.
Cent Plis de Miao depicts a skirt traditionally worn by tribeswomen from the Miao culture. Almost four million people of the Miao live in China (there are also tribes in Vietnam and Laos, where they’re called “Hmong”).
The name Miao means “raw rice”. The skirt in the scarf design is often mentioned in songs and folk tales and is an important element of the culture. The fabrics are pleated, a technique believed to be inspired by mushroom gills. The finer the pleats, the higher the value of the dress.
One of the most prolific designers in the service of Hermès, Aline Honoré has created an inspired design, depicting the skirt in all its splendour. Spread across the background is another type of fabric design that the Miao women wear tied around their legs, whose patterns are squares and lines.
The cashmere/silk shawl (also called CSGM, which stands for cashemire soie grand modèle) is 140×140 cm and is therefore a very large format, a scarf large enough to wear as a dress should you so desire. It is wonderful to cozy up in winter, but also makes a fantastic wrap to carry along on summer nights for when the temperatures drop and the wind gets chilly. I get wear out of my CSGM’s year-round.
I got this one in 2011 from ebay. I like the colours, they seem autumnal and warm despite the many shades of blue and green in it, it is colourful but neutral enough thanks to the brown border. It was my first (and back then I naively thought it would forever be my only) CSGM and I was so in awe of it for the longest time, I hardly dared to wear it. In the end that defeats the purpose and once I got over myself I experienced not only the visual beauty but the utter comfort this soft and warm scarf delivers. It feels like a hug. (Yes, that sounds cheesy as hell!)
I liked this design so much that when the opportunity arose to buy a silk version of the same motif from a friend, I took it.
In the smaller (90×90) silk version, the skirt and its pleats seem more delicate, also the lighter pale grey, taupe and turquoise colour scheme give the scarf a very different vibe. This one is more elegant, refined and subtle that its more earthy big sister.
In this detail you can see the designer’s signature. Many, although not all, Hermès scarfs bear a signature somewhere, often well-hidden within the design.
I think Mille Plis would have been a more approprate title, since the pleats are so plentiful.
The story of this scarf is a bit funny. It arrived and – even worse than with its big sister – I was afraid of wearing it, since it is so light in colour and seems so very easy to stain. And promptly, the first time I dared to wear it, a gust of wind blew it into my face and smack into my lip gloss. It has a small stain now, but somehow that mad it really mine, and I am not afraid of wearing it anymore. It bears my mark. 😉
Here is one more shot of the pleats, the silk screening is so well done and so convincing that the illusion of pleating is very strong here.
Next week I will interrupt the collection posts to try and put together a post about identifying an authentic Hermès scarf.
Thank you for reading! Have a great weekend!