Hermès Maison + Jean-Michel Frank equals a collection of chic pieces that will last and please for many, many, many lifetimes.

It is hardly a news flash that Hermès, as a brand, will forever stand the test of time; their Birkin and Kelly bags have literally become their own economy. But recently, I have been introduced to another category within the brand, Hermes Maison and these items had me at Hello or Bonjour if you will. I am currently on season three of Astrid, so good.

As a friend of mine commented on one of our recent Instagram posts featuring this Hermés Maison Sofa Sellier ~ “That is one chic sofa!” Is it possible to fall in love with a piece of furniture? If so, I am in way deep—hook, line, and sinker. 

The story of Hermes Maison began with the partnership between Jean-Rene Guerrand, Emile Hermes’ son-in-law, and the designer Jean-Michel Frank. J-M Frank had “commissioned him (Emile) to upholster his comfortable armchairs and sofas.”

J-M Frank was already well-known for his furniture collection, which was described as “a new style of furniture combining simplicity with considerable luxury” in famous designer Elsa Schiaparelli’s memoir. It is said that his furniture line is one of “the most admired – and widely copied – designs of the 20th century.”
This unplanned partnership lasted the rest of the designer’s lifetime. With Jean-Michel Frank, Hermes pushed the envelope of its saddlery and harness-making expertise to upholster pieces of furniture and wall coverings”( Via Hermès website on the collection)

Sellier means “Saddler” in French. The name pays homage to Hermès’ origin as the premier saddler and harness-maker to the French nobility.

Jean-Michel Frank’s life was sadly filled with tremendous loss and challenges; imagine what he could have accomplished if he had found some peace. Maarten van Buuren, J-M Frank’s biographer, was “deeply convinced that the ideal of all his design work was to create a space where the soul could go to rest. It’s a meditative atmosphere he was looking for. Like a dog in his basket. So the sparseness and exquisite materials he used were to give people something comparable to monastic specs designed to take away daily sorrows and give space to your soul.” His designs with Hermes illustrate this ideal in the most magnificent way.

The re-edition of this collection in 2010 was a well-laid plan for the company, as noted  in a NYT T-Magazine article by Pilar Viladas “Pierre-Alexis Dumas, the company’s artistic director and a sixth-generation member of the founding Hermès family, said starting Maison with historic designs was a deliberate strategy: ‘‘We had to go backward to understand our roots and to go forward into the future.’’ 

It appears this strategy was successful, according to The Lux Cut, “In combining their two distinct styles, they created their unique brand of furniture that, even in re-release, stands the test of time. While the art-worthy pieces may be on the high end of luxury, they are museum-quality that you’ll surely treasure.”

Fortunately, J-M Frank’s partnership with Hermes enabled his design to evolve and continue, and “the Sellier sofa makes more than one reference to the house’s equestrian heritage in an archetypal, modular piece whose design is led by a quest for ingenuity and surprises that delight as they reveal themselves…like the interior of a carriage, this sofa has hidden pockets and compartments designed for the ease and the pleasure of its owner; the saddlebags on the side of the armrest include pockets for magazines and the caned screen shelters a leather-covered box of secrets.” I personally would hide all of my fast-charging Apple chargers and Caddis eyewear from my husband and sons in here! 😉

It is thanks to the re-edition of this collection that I was spurred into researching this partnership. Town & Sea is currently consigning two pieces from Hermes Maison that were inspired by this collaboration.  Learning more about the relationship between J-M Frank and Hermes makes these pieces all the more beautiful. 

Along with the Sofa Sellier, we are also consigning a gorgeous Jean-Michel Frank Black Leather Three-Seater Sofa that would up the wow factor in any office, at home, or on work premises. The simple lines combined with the gorgeous leather and stitching would fit into most settings, and it is the original that all the copies are based upon, AND it is available immediately! Like today, tomorrow, the next day 🙂

I’ve also learned that J-M Frank was the mastermind behind the Parsons Table. As a teacher at the Paris satellite school of Parsons School of Design, he challenged his students to create a table that would retain its integrity no matter the material; they designed the now eponymous  T-squared table that got its name from its perpendicular design of leg to top. A Parson’s handyman made the first prototype, and viola, a legend, was born.  Jean-Michel was also a distant cousin to the famous diarist Anne Frank. 

We feel so fortunate to be able to foster these gorgeous pieces until they find their new homes, and therefore, learn more about them! Please let us know if you have any questions or additional thoughts regarding our offerings or musings.

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Betsy