Hermès Sur-Mesure, If You Can Dream It, They Can Create It

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French Maison Hermès is noted for many things. Bags that are worth investing in more than property, and silk scarves that shape-shift from accessories to halter tops are among those items. What not many would know about, though, is the brand’s low-profile special projects arm, hiding in plain sight at the bottom of the French luxury auteur’s website in the form of a little tab, spelling Le Sur-Mesure. Meaning, Made-To-Measure.

With Le Sur-Mesure, the sky’s not your limit, it’s the depth of your imagination and bank account. But that’s, of course, if your even land a reply from the atelier.

Bespoke is not a novel idea, more so for the higher echelons of fashion where the world’s most well-heeled crop of consumers splurge their wealth. So for the almost-two centuries old French luxury goods house, assuming roles as tailors not merely to the sartorial needs of its affluent consumers, but also to the ‘fruit of [their] imagination’, is readily hoped for.

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The interior of an Aston Martin DB4 upholstered in gold calfskin and English green New Zealand wool (Photo: Alexis Goure).

Discreetly, Hermès has offered bespoke products to selected special clients. Founded in 1837 to serve the horse-harness needs of affluent Parisians, Hermès branched out over the subsequent 181 years into saddlery, belts, leather trunks and handbags, scarves, fragrances, wearables, lamps, wallpaper, tableware, furniture, and ready-to-wear collections – all could be customised to fit the client’s specific wishes. Le Sur-Mesure, though, aims to take that concept one step further. Throughout the brand’s expansion, Sur-Mesure has remained a constant, if low-key, offering amid the relative profusion of gleaming ‘H’ belt buckles and Birkin bags.

I like to give an artistic and sometimes twisted answer to an object’s functionality. We are not just a manufacturer; we are a house of ideas. And we like to surpass people and give some funny answers. We have a very open-minded way to approach each project, by being innovative and working with new materials. We want to give fantasy.

Axel de Beaufort, design and engineering director of special projects for Hermès Sur-Mesure

The atelier is based, along with other Hermès workshops, in the Paris suburb of Pantin. One-off projects created under its direction include a skateboard with a custom brown-leather carrying sling; a winged horse saddle in red, yellow, and orange worthy of Wonder Woman; a fastidiously stitched picnic box; and an acid-green protective case for an apple. Roller skates are in development, as are boxing gloves.

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For some, this has taken the form of custom arm chairs coated in Hermès’ iconic supple brown leather, or maybe one-off boxing gloves designed to perfectly form around their clenched knuckles. For another, it may be the seats of their exotic car to their private jet or the cabin of a 12-metre dayboat like the Rocabar.

We are not just a manufacturer; we are a house of ideas. And we like to surpass people and give some funny answers.

Axel de Beaufort, design and engineering director of special projects for Hermès Sur-Mesure

The boat, Rocabar, is a Hermès creation – not that the uninformed eye would ever discern that. Lacking the telltale ‘H’ or any other defining marker, Rocabar is the ultimate personal bauble.

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Interior view of the ‘Rocabar’, decorated with Hermès’s Savana Danse motif. (Photo: Laurent Benoit)

It could be anything: Bag, suitcase, garment, saddle, phone case or piece of furniture for your vacation home. Even the casket to your hot air balloon, or plush interior of your rare Aston Martin DB4. Whatever it is, the team of Le Sur-Mesure artisans will have it made to life and skilfully crafted just for you, using the house’s finest materials. The only catch will be that no one other than you would ever know it’s an Hermès.

It will never be written big: ‘Here is my Le Sur-Mesure Hermès bag, only the client needs to know it was made for them.

Christophe Beltrando, Hermès atelier managing director

What Beltrando would not disclose was how much any of these products could set one back. After all, giving away such information is “not really in keeping with the spirit of Le Sur-Mesure”. Something else he would not reveal: What percentage of Le Sur-Mesure’s business comes from existing Hermès clients versus new ones.

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Want to Birkin-ize your vintage car or boat? No problem. And if you’d like a cabinet that holds your luxury items to be a luxury item itself, Hermès has you covered.

As expected, the dream factory has an ultra-strict door policy. Hermès will reject requests that don’t reflect its brand values. “One guy who owned this super 1980s-style yacht talked to us”, mused Alex de Beaufort, artistic director of Le Sur-Mesure, then shook his head. “Our best ambassador is the product and we must be aware of that always”.

On top of this page, created by very talented artist Philippine Poplu, illustration of the 17 icons of the iPad app for the Hermès custom-made products (present in all stores).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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