Storied French luxury house Hermès has always believed in an artisan-first model, where the make of the hand is central to every facet of its business. Artistry is not only played out in its sought-after creations but also in how they’re showcased.
For the house’s latest window display at the Hermès Liat Towers boutique, South Korean artist Hansol Kim was invited to create his own interpretation of the Hermès 2023 theme “Astonishing Hermès!”. The London-based installation artist’s works continuously explore the relationship between humans, clothing and spaces, often deploying used clothing as their foundations. The creation of “Unique, Universal and Unity” afforded Kim to use leathers and fabrics from Hermès. He was then given complete freedom to turn them into the works that now inhabit the windows.
The materials from Hermès have been turned into eclectic patchworks of fantastical beasts and humanoid forms. Inspired by hybridisation and hyper culture—where information is available at dazzling speeds because of a digitally connected society—the installations are puzzling and well, fittingly astonishing. Each creature is unique and embody a different form and spirit altogether. They are designed in such a way that invites the viewer to decipher their make. Kim used a range of items that cross cultures and time periods, incorporating pieces such as 16th-century knee high boots, traditional Korean socks as well as balloon sleeves. And of course, the creatures are seen with Hermès’ very own objects ranging from ready-to-wear to its creations for the home.
As these creatures seemingly make their way through a singular destination (wherever that may be), they traverse a confounding backdrop where the sea, land and sky merge, and through their own unique ways of mobility—some are fitted with wheels, skis, and even kayak paddles. They may be stationary but Kim invites everyone to dream up their very own narrative of an imaginary world.
Or at the very least, be in complete awe at the installations and the level of craftsmanship that went into each character.
“Unique, Universal and Unity” is on display at Hermès Liat Towers until 28 November 2023.