The Genteel
November 23, 2017
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Miguel Chevalier's wall projection, Mini Jack tie. Source: Grazia.it.

USB, keyboard, binary wave Hermès ties.
Source: Grazia.it.

With its launch of eight new heavy twill tie, the deeply conservative house of Hermès is stepping into modern retail. The ties are being showcased through the brand's "8 Ties Project," where businessmen can select their perfect Hermès tie from an interactive wall or "magic" digital e-book, a move away from the brand's traditional window displays and boutique experience.

The exhibit includes two interactive, digital installations by Mexico-born, Paris-based video artist Miguel Chevalier, an internationally respected pioneer in the fields of visual and digital art. Inspired by his previous artwork, Binary Wave (2010) - an 8 x 4 metre wall projection representing a sequence of computer coding - Chevalier fitted a virtual-reality wall projection in a dark room at Milan's Costume Moda Immagine in Palazzo Morando, the current stop of the Hermès exhibit. With two video projectors, a laptop and an infrared camera, Chevalier created eight different digital wall designs, one for each tie pattern. By simply moving one's hand across an image, visitors can scroll through the new tie patterns and widen the design on the wall to analyse every detail. Chevalier's interactive project continues on the first floor of the Hermès boutique at 21 Via Sant'Andrea in Milan where an interactive e-book illustrates the new ties through digital images. It's a cutting-edge way of informing customers on a product's characteristics as well as entertaining them with comments written by philosopher Christine Buci-Glucksmann for each tie design. 

Hermes 8 Ties Project

The interactive e-book at Milan's Hermès boutique. 
Source: vogue.it.

As for the eight heavy twill ties themselves, what's so innovative about them? Seen from a distance, their patterns seem to follow Hermès' traditional formula. But through Chevalier's installations, the novelty of the ties becomes clear: the new patterns are inspired by technology and the internet, incorporating USB symbols, microchips, binary code, On/Off symbols, graph paper and the universal symbol for recycling.

In addition to interactive displays and tech-inspired tie patterns, the French brand took steps away from tradition not only by carrying on with its use of colour in contrast to Hermès' well-known burnt orange (the colour has become synonymous with Hermès, and reportedly emerged during the Second World War when, due to a lack of materials, Hermès was forced to use the brightly coloured, relatively unpopular hue of paper to construct its boxes), but also by changing the fabric and width of the new ties. Each tech-inspired tie measures exactly 8cm wide (vs. the traditional 9cm width of its silk twill ties) and is constructed from heavy silk twill, a thicker weave with a pattern of diagonal lines.

To pick your favorite high-tech tie from an interactive wall projection, follow the Hermès travelling fashion exhibition. After its debut in September at the MoMu Fashion Museum in Antwerp and its stint in Milan, the "8 Ties Project" moves to the The Bravern in Seattle from October 31 to November 6.

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