As the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic has confined much of the world’s population to our homes – and indeed, even in the distant future where the virus has largely been suppressed, businesses increasingly adopt a work-from-home arrangement for employees – sales of homewares have skyrocketed. We might be looking down the barrel of a recession, and our day-to-day wardrobes have taken on a pyjama-esque style, but making our homes our sanctuary has been an important step in maintaining some normality in our lives.
Indeed, sales of home furnishing products in Singapore more than doubled through February in March, with fintech research firm Revolut attributing the rise to Singaporeans setting up home offices. A look through the homewares pages of online luxury retailers MatchesFashion.com and Mr Porter is evidence, at a sensory level, of the change: candles and home fragrances are nearly all out of stock. Having moved to Singapore from Sydney during the pandemic, and with an empty apartment to kit out, I’ve personally contributed to the rise in sales at Ikea, Courts and a host of other online stores. Nothing says home to me like Aesop’s Reverence Aromatique hand wash, after all. It was one of the first things I ordered on arrival.
So it’s with rather prescient timing that Hermès – that most esteemed of French luxury lifestyle brands – should release its 2020-21 Hermès Home collection this month, following its recent (socially-distant) menswear collection. It goes without saying that these are not your average flat-pack purchases. The catalogue’s accompanying text reads almost like poetry. “Back and forth, the needle or comb combine the threads of a fabric; back and forth, the same and the plane shape the chair and the table; back and forth, the hands form a vase from clay where the water remains.” The emphasis, of course, is on the hand-crafted nature of these pieces.
Like an oak dining table and chair set by British designer Jasper Morrison, in which the tabletop comprises bevelled edges and rounded corners, and the slatted chair backs are crafted from a single piece of wood and adorned with saddle-stitched leather seats. Or plaid cashmere rugs, created by the cloth being tightly pinched in carved wooden clamps before being dipped into colour to produce the spectacularly coloured patterns. And there’s leather, too, this being Hermès. A wall-mounted organiser in bull calf and goatskin borrows the house’s Kelly bag’s slightly domed and hand-stitched handle tabs, into which rings are inserted, perfect for keeping administrative items in order.
The Hermès Home 2020-21 collections are now available at Hermes boutiques.