Sunday, April 25, 2010

"H" is for Husband and for Hermes

Chez Hallett we have fallen in love with Hermès.

Naturally it began in Paris with a visit to the store at 24 rue du Fauborg Saint-Honore. I was desperate to visit their sellier and I was not disappointed to observe a group of wealthy Germans ordering a custom jumping saddle. As my husband and I glided through the store, I understood the true meaning of refined extravagance. For 90 euros I purchased a pair of black polo wraps with the Hermès "H" velcroed across the front. To this day, they lie pristinely in their orange and brown box as my horse has never been clean enough to wear them.

Now back where I live (Victoria, British Columbia) it is difficult to acquire a good fake Coach bag much less anything genuine from Hermès. The nearest store is in Vancouver and though beautiful, the store is small and is intended for serious shoppers, not browsers or groupies. It took me ages to get up the nerve to enter and then I only did so under the false sense of entitlement that came from having "shopped" at the Paris store. One of these entrees took place during Vancouver's Winter Olympics when I noticed their store window with the sign "7,915km Paris". See my blog and photo:

Around the same time, my husband and I were lent the book " Bringing Home the Birkin - My Life in Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag". Written by Michael Tonello, the book is delicious chick-glit (i.e. a book written for women by a gay man) and is the story of how Michael made a living, and a fortune, buying and selling Hermes Birkin bags. I devoured it in less than a week and then gave it to my husband to read.

Yesterday my husband and I were in Vancouver to celebrate my Dad's birthday. We had about an hour before dinner and Chris wanted to visit the Hermès store. OK. About a block from the store, he tells me he is going to ask one of the salespeople if he could have the "7915km Paris" sign. I want to be hopeful and optimistic but in my head I am thinking, "You can't do that - it's
Hermès ."

As soon as we enter the store I feel horribly conspicuous. There is nowhere to go so I stand awkwardly in the middle trying not to look at anything or get anything dirty. My sense of Paris, of anything remotely fashionable, vanishes and I look miserably at my feet wishing to God I wasn't wearing my Pumas and my jeans with the frayed hems. 90 euros polo wraps aside, I know that I am way on the outside of the world of Hermès .

Chris, however, is chatting softly to a lovely saleswoman and I overhear him closing the deal on the "7915km Paris" sign. Of all things, she has it in her apartment and would only be too happy to give it to Chris. They exchange cards, arrange a date and I finally get up the courage to introduce myself to this chic Hermes Goddess who kindly gives me a copy of their magazine and some perfume samples. I am so in love, so in the moment that when she mentions her upcoming - and first! - trip to Paris, I boldly lift up my shirt and reveal my Eiffel Tower tattoo.

Just for a second imagine the horror if I did this at 24 rue du Fauborg Saint-Honore! So declasse! The saleswomen would faint; the Birkins would leap to their deaths from their mahogany shelves; and the scarves would tie themselves into impossible, un-Hermès approved knots. So not Paris.

As we continue to chat with our Hermès Goddess, a scarf catches my eye. It is classic black and white silk, covered with horseshoes and beautiful French military horse scenes. It is the perfect blend of equestrian chic and classic Hermès . Chris and I leave the store and we agree to meet after I have done my tortuous and obligatory paw through H&M to convince myself yet again that I am now officially too old to shop at that store no matter how badly I want to buy at $39.99 Sonia Rykiel shrunken cardigan.

Empty-handed I meet Chris at our designated spot. He is carrying the distinctive orange and chocolate bag with a gift-ribboned scarf box inside. I have a serious "Holy Hermès " moment and start shaking on the inside. A beautiful dream. When I finally calm down and the take the scarf from its box, it is more beautiful to the touch. I have silk dresses that weigh less than this scarf. Draped around my neck, it feels like fine jewelry and its Frenchess caresses me in a way that takes me immediately to Paris.

There are no words to thank my husband. Last year a friend and very wise woman said to me that I was lucky because "he listens". I have thought about her words a lot but they hit me in my heart at certain moments like yesterday. Material items aside, I love my husband so much because everything he does for me is done with so much intent and consideration. His belief in me - even in this Blog - is absolute. I have his support to do anything, be anything and he is simply the kindest and most generous person I have ever known. Being his wife is great privilege.

"H" is also for heart. My husband is my heart.

1 comment:

theduchessofH said...

I'm happy to hear you enjoyed Michael's book! I'll be sure to let him know. He's a dear friend, and I love him to pieces.

I hope you post pictures of your horse, even if you never use the Hermes leg wraps.

I have never used mine either.