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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Lunchtime with a Curator: Decorative Arts Design Series

Afternoon Course

Monday, August 2, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0129
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Materials for this program

  1. The Hermès Carré Handout

Clockwise: "Faïence" by Lucien Lelong, 1946 (Maryhill Museum of Art); Donna Limerick wears a replica of her mother Mae Reeves' hat designs (Photo: Sharon Farmer); Silk scarves by Hermès (Photo: Samantha Viksnins)

Save when you purchase the Lunchtime with a Curator summer series!

Join curator Elizabeth Lay, a regular lecturer on the topics of fashion, textiles, and American furniture, for an image-rich lunchtime lecture series focusing on decorative arts and design topics.

Session Information

The Hermès Carré: The History of Fashion’s Most Iconic Accessory

No other accessory has the power to instantly transform an individual into a style icon as the Hermès Carré. The square silk scarf, coveted by royalty, celebrities, and ordinary folk alike is the epitome of luxury. Whether purchased for oneself, gifted on a special occasion, or inherited, the ownership of an Hermès Carré is a rite of passage for stylish women.

Originally a harness supplier to European nobility, Maison Hermès began to introduce clothing and accessories at the advent of the 20th century. Meticulously hand-crafted through nearly every stage of production, the Hermès Carré was first introduced in 1937. Over the years, the designs on the scarves have been inspired by historical events, famous personalities, architecture, cultural events, fantasy and science fiction, and everyday objects; no subject is too mundane to adorn the silk square. It is precisely this unique mix of craftmanship and whimsy that makes the scarves so coveted and collectible.

Lay is joined by art historian and collector Samantha Viksnins, who delves deeper into the history of the Hermès Carré, the production process of the limited-edition scarves, and illustrates what sets the Hermès designs apart from those of other luxury scarves.

Please Note: Individual sessions are available for individual purchase.

Additional Sessions

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
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  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of each session. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of each session, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.

Photo caption (upper right):

This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.