Welcome to the Hermès Carré Club. Wore Rajo Laurel to the Hermès Carré Club launch in Singapore.
Photos by Tim Yap
New year’s resolution: Be square
SUPREMO (The Philippine Star) - January 6, 2019 - 12:00am

The vibe was Grand Budapest Hotel meets Crazy, Rich Asians. We were in a historic building somewhere in central Singapore to celebrate “being square.” Of course in Hermès language that is all about the Carré or the beloved Hermès silk scarf.

Now, how does Hermès throw a party to celebrate their iconic product? Let me count the ways. From the reception desk where guests check in and get their membership card, to each point of engagement with the Carré, one thing I quickly realized about this Hermès Carré Club is that it’s all about free-spirited exploration and, later, collective joy.

(Left) Prints and the revolution. (Right) Will frame this at home.

So I went around the venue purposely not looking at any map or asking around where to go. I just wanted to get lost and find myself immersed in a Carré Club world that Hermès set up for us — and what a world that was. Of course, we were with other people — friends of the brand — and every now and then, in between meeting the illustrator of the scarves, I would check on my companions who were either having a photo shoot or donning their wigs at the Carré Cut, where everyone — the men included — wore multicolored versions of Anna Wintour’s iconic square cut bob. The others were happily indulgent with their manicures in Carré colors. This was the first step in transformation, I figured. When you’re all dressed up, you’re ready to par-tay. I must say, I never thought Hermès could throw a party like this. I stand corrected.

Carré On

(Left) Wigging off to a good start. (Right) The magic of watching Ugo Gattoni and Jean-Simon Roch creating a series of drawings live is all love.

Right after checking in, we were led back outside where a Carré Park was set up and skaters came out to play. Watching the skaters go up and down the structure, doing gravity-defying stunts, put us all in the right mood. We were ready for more adventure! So off to the maze I went, a new devotee wanting to discover more.

While the ladies were wigging out, I took the time to explore the Carré Studio, the event’s artistic epicenter where I got to meet and interact with the designers themselves. I witnessed how Ugo Gattoni and Jean-Simon Roch created and animated a series of drawings that I only saw in the Hermès scarves and now I was watching them make an artwork live. Gianpaolo Pagni showed me how he uses stamps and makes it a new part of the illustration. He even gave me one to take home and frame for myself. I also made sure to line up early and be among the lucky ones to take home a portrait by Keng Saw, in his very own quirky style.

Angelina Legaspi, our Hermès girl, proudly showing us the craftsmanship, the art and the heart of the brand.

Like a kid in a candy store, I went around and explored each room — every nook emitted imagination. There was the Carré Cafe, where we enjoyed a yummy explosion of Southeast Asian flavors, Carré OK cubicles where we sang our hearts out (we are Filipinos, after all!) and a Carré disco where the mirror balls were square!

Carré confessions, anyone?

(Left) Carré bites: Yummy slices of heaven. (Right) Check mate: Proud member of the Hermès Carré Club since 2018.

There were even telephone booths set up where you could hear Carré Stories and even confess your own. Secrets, anecdotes, your truths and your own fiction... I found that most interesting and personal. Just you and your phone and your experience with a silk scarf. “Spoken truths are a reminder that Carrés are keepers of memories and tales,” someone whispered to me that night.

After that whirlwind tour of the Hermès Carré Club, guess where we ended the night? Lining up for the special-edition silk bandana — my most precious purchase of the year — available at this member’s only gift shop. No one could hoard as it was one scarf per member, but I saw others really piling on with their shopping. By night’s end, the shop was almost fully sold out.

(Left) Pinball machine, anyone? Every room in the Hermès Carré Club has a surprise. This being one of them. (Right) View of the Hermès Carré Club lounge.

Looking back on this most multifaceted encounter, it was an amazing night of craftsmanship, art, heart and heritage. I learned so much. Laughed so much. Met so many interesting people and made so many wonderful memories. Being square has never been this much fun.

* * *

In the Philippines, Hermès is at Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati City. Follow the author @officialtimyap on IG and Twitter, @iamtimyap on Facebook.

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