Hermes Symbiose - A Blend of Fashion and Sculpture
In BagWorld, few stories are as compelling as that of Marie-Pierre Bernard, the visionary designer behind Hermès' little-understood Symbiose line. This tale weaves together the realms of haute couture and sculpture, presenting a fascinating narrative of creativity, challenges, and triumph.
Marie-Pierre, daughter of renowned car manufacturer Pierre Bernard, embarked on her journey in the arts with a degree in architecture and sculpture from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Lyon. Her path took an enchanting turn in 1986, leading to the creation of the Symbiose line for Hermès. This collection showcased twelve uniquely designed bags, each exuding a surrealist charm and ceremonial grace. Among these, the Himalaya bag stood out as the crown jewel - a piece that blurred the lines between a fashion accessory and a sculptural masterpiece.
Her father, Pierre Bernard, a patron of futuristic architecture and a financier of visionary architect Antti Lovag, played a pivotal role in Marie-Pierre's creative evolution. His support helped her launch her first haute couture collection in 1982, with a workshop-boutique at 177 avenue du Maine in Paris under the banner Pour Échanger Quelques Mots or “To Exchange a Few Words”. This collection, celebrated for its use of rare skins and original designs, catapulted Marie-Pierre to the forefront of the fashion world. However a second collection would, unfortunately, never be realized.
Marie-Pierre's ascent was not without its trials. The sudden relinquishment of the Bernard Group's management by her father due to his health led to the closure of her Parisian workshop-boutique by her half-siblings. This setback plunged her into despair, but her resilient spirit soon found a new direction.
A New Chapter with Hermès
Her foray into Hermès was nothing short of a cinematic twist. Inspired by her husband's literary interests, she penned a letter to Jean-Louis Dumas, then President of Hermès, invoking the story of Cyrano de Bergerac. This bold move led to an invitation from Dumas, eventually granting her carte blanche to design a collection for the legendary luxury house.
Under pressure to adhere to Hermès' traditional style, Marie-Pierre had three months to develop a collection, which she initially found constraining. Tearing up her original designs just days before the deadline, she embraced her authentic vision and leaned on her architectural training to birth the Symbiose line - a daring fusion of unconventional designs and audacious craftsmanship. Jean-Louis Dumas approved. He named the premier bag 'Sac Himalaya,' likening its bold fusion of materials and adventurous design to the challenge of scaling the world's highest peak, a tribute to daring creativity and craftsmanship.
Marie-Pierre's approach to the Himalaya bag was a testament to her artistic background. She treated each bag as a sculpture, a meticulous assembly and symphony of exotic materials and geometric shapes.
The Legacy of the Symbiose Line
The Symbiose line, comprising twelve bags, some with variations, pushed forward Hermes’ daring design further than any other collection. Each piece in the group stands as a bold statement against conventional symmetry, celebrating a harmonious chaos of colors and shapes.
Marie-Pierre Bernard's journey with Hermès and her own Symbiose line is more than just a fashion story. It's a narrative of resilience, artistic freedom, and the enduring power of creativity. Her designs, initially met with awe, are now coveted as collectors' items, and continue to inspire and challenge the norms in Hermes world.
Source: arfon maison d'édition