Craftsmanship in the Lipizzaner Stable

Craftsmanship in the Lipizzaner Stable

A special kind of craft show is currently on display in the Stallburg of the Spanish Riding School. The Festival des Métiers is stopping here for one week. Hermès has been touring the world since 2011 and is now granting interested visitors in Vienna the chance to look behind the scenes for the first time. French craftspeople will let you look over their shoulders while they make silk carrés, bags, saddles, gloves, ties and watches.

Scratching the surface

Nothing is sold at this event – after a full week’s work there simply wouldn’t be anywhere near enough products. The nine different craftspeople patiently describe the creative process to their guests. The designs of the carrés are created live as silkscreen prints with up to 46 colours for the same number of individual processes. The dyes are specially mixed. Even when a design is recreated, the colour tones cannot be repeated exactly. You can even watch the so-called sabrage: accurate to the millimetre, the top threads of the thick silk cloth are scratched open with a knife. That creates a fleecy surface that gives the pattern a 3D effect. If the craftsperson misses the mark just once, the entire cloth is ruined.

20 hours for a bag

To create a Kelly bag, the initially unsuccessful women’s version of a men’s travel bag from the 1930s that is a bestseller today, a bag maker needs roughly 20 hours. And that doesn’t include choosing the leather, tanning or cutting. Five pieces and two hours of work are needed to create the handle alone. Slowly you begin to realize why people stand in queues and wait for months to buy them. Particularly fitting for this location and for the history of the French family business is the workshop where saddles are sewn. The saddler explains that each of her six colleagues has their own unique thumbprint, meaning that she can identify their work not only by means of the number embossed in the leather, but also by the fine cutting and the stitching. There is also a craftsman for male visitors. You have three guesses – the label’s watchmaker! As a highlight, he has brought along the Arceau Le temps suspendu. Which seems to stop time. As does the exhibition as a whole.  
Hermès – Festival des Métiers Stallburg of the Spanish Riding School, Vienna Until 27.9.2015 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free admission
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