In January this year, when designer Pierre Hardy was made a member of the Légion d'Honneur for his design skills, he was fêted at Hermès headquarters for his two decades of work.
Now the house has announced that it has acquired a stake in Maison Pierre Hardy, the designer's personal shoe brand, thus tightening the golden knot between the two companies in an era when poaching talent is familiar among luxury houses.
"It shows how proud we are to support creative talent and incredible expertise as part of this unique tribe that strives for excellence," said Axel Dumas, Global Chief Executive of Hermès.
What few people knew, myself included, is that Hardy has been working quietly for the last six years on high jewellery for Hermès. During the Spring/Summer 2016-17 Haute Couture collections, Hermès decided to stage a presentation that would show Hardy’s imaginative geometry in jewel design to add to his roster of accessory displays for the house.
The display for Pierre Hardy’s Haute Joiallerie collection for Hermès echoed the geometry of the gems and their settings
Bold sculpture was the message, as abstract, geometric body lines housed metallic circles as neck pieces, brooches in a network of squares with central stones, and necklaces with variations on bar and bits that go back to the house’s horsey heritage.
The problem with this powerful display, which was held in a small, circular area, was that the onlookers could not touch the jewels, nor try them against the skin. It is difficult, for security reasons, to give jewellery the place it deserves: both on the body and in a display that reveals details of exquisite design and the fire of the gems.
But this was still a recognition that Hardy plays an increasingly important role at the house, as the Creator in Chief of Accessories. And the designer himself is revelling in his new situation.
''I'm very pleased, and very proud, of our alliance with Hermès, a house that champions the exceptional," Hardy said. "It's the natural expression of 25 years of creative collaboration."
A cascade of pearls and stones made an oblique reference to reigns
Pierre Hardy with a leather, suede and shearling boot from his Spring/Summer 2016-17 collection