Petit h

Pascale Mussard envisions new from old for Hermès

A small silk horse stands before me. It’s one of my favorite things, and it accompanies me wherever I go. The little horse came to me at a time when I had just experienced great loss, which was sensed by a person whose fantasy seems to know no bounds.

Pascale Mussard is a special woman. Not only is this evident in her appearance; she also serves as somewhat of a good conscience at Hermès. As a member of its family, she has always been quite the individual. She adored going to the workshops to collect scraps of material or objects with small defects, things that no one else wanted. She kept them in little boxes, compiling what would evolve into a kind of private “Ali Baba cave.” This treasure trove was her starting point for establishing the little “h” of Hermès: Petit h.

Petit h champions the process of re-creation. It is a creative laboratory for materials, artists, and craftspeople that are united by the high standards of Hermès. Here is where visions are transformed into objects of all kinds, into unique pieces that are both functional and extraordinary. These are referred to as “UPOS”—unknown poetic objects.

The makers of these UPOS are like children. Curious and open-minded, they approach the ateliers in Pantin as if they were Santa’s workshops, embracing remnants from the silk ateliers, shards of glass from the Saint Louis crystal works, a bent fork at Puiforcat. String, a bridle, colorful seam tape or lace from the ready-to-wear creations, and pieces of the famous colorful bath mats are full of creative potential.

These veritable magicians take the leftovers and combine, blend, and meld them into new entities. They emerge transformed into sculptures, a garden swing, toy airplanes, and incredible bookends.

There is furniture as well, sporting pullout drawers upholstered in bath mat textiles, or a cuckoo clock crafted from a large Kelly bag—sensible, surreal, and unexpected. Hermès may be turned on its head by Petit h but is quite clear with regard to its concept. Like a cornucopia, one inspiration gives birth to another, akin to the brazen jazz quartet that rouses the dignified orchestra with its audacity, and keeps it young.

It’s also fabulous as a kind of recycling deluxe, resulting in whimsical one-offs that tickle the fancy. And they are for sale: popping out of their pert, orange colored boxes as they traverse the globe to destinations such as Tokyo, Paris, and New York.

Petit h