Scarf of the moment: La Femme aux Semelles de Vent

I have already told the story of how I came to own this amazing scarf. The real tale goes slightly further back in time. In 2014, I started down the slippery slope of Hermès scarf ownership and very soon started reading the scarfie threads on The Purse Forum. The expert members of the forum have such extensive knowledge of the designs, which go back to the 1930s and I quickly became aware of so-called “grails”. These are scarves and shawls that have caught the attention of collectors and have remained special over time. La Femme aux Semelles de Vent is one of those grails.

Generally speaking, I don’t try to own these really expensive scarves. The ones considered grails are highly sought after all around the world and so command premium prices. Even the “ordinary” Hermès scarves are very expensive and out of the reach of most people. I see them as a special luxury that I can only afford because I am now retired and my monthly “pocket money” doesn’t get spent on going out!

So, I was very lucky to find a pristine scarf, complete with its box, at a very reasonable price.

La Femme aux Semelles de Vent by Aline Honoré for Hermès

La Femme aux Semelles de Vent by Aline Honoré for Hermès

Description

La Femme aux Semelles de Vent was designed by the amazing artist Aline Honoré for Hermès  Autumn/Winter 2009 season. The design was available as a 90cm silk twill and a 140cm cashmere/silk shawl. I have the silk twill.

The scarf pays homage to Alexandra David-Neel (1868-1969), a French/Belgian explorer, spiritualist and writer, who was a true ‘femme aux semelles de vent’ (a woman with wind for her soles). The central image depicts Alexandra David-Neel and her companion, Lama Yongden, heading towards Lhasa, the forbidden capital of Tibet. She reached Lhasa in 1924, and this amazing feat made her famous throughout the world.

Around the centre are bands of decoration, some floral and others geometric, surrounded on two sides by life-like animal print of leopard and tiger skins. There are also images of metal and gem stone jewels placed around the borders, with the largest and most striking examples on the four corners. The whole design has a depth and and 3D quality created by the glorious use of colour and shading.

I am not sure of the code number for the colourway on my scarf (perhaps a visitor will inform me!). The colours used are rich browns, sepia, purple, orange, yellow and grey. The jewellery appears to be real silver because the use of colour is so clever. The animal furs appear to be lifelike. In fact, the whole design is exquisite.

Colourways

Here are the colourways that I have found online. I am not sure which version of the design they are:

Design story

This is the design story for the scarf:

The carre borrows its title from the epithet “The man with wind for his soles” that Verlaine has used of his friend, the travel poet Rimbaud. It pays homage to Alexandra David-Neel (1868-1969), the explorer, versed in knowledge, who studied oriental philosophies and covered thousands of kilometers crossing Central Asia and the Far East. Like the rugs and clothing of these regions, the carre is bordered with fur bands, here printed on the silk, and embroidered braids, mixing ethnic, geometric or floral patterns, interspersed with pieces of gold-work, charms, and earrings of silver, coral and turquoise.

Details

Here are some closeups of my scarf in a slideshow format:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How I wear the scarf

I have worn the scarf a couple of times so far, both with my Lands’ End cotton animal print top:

Outfit of the day 02/10/18 with Hermès’ La Femme aux Semelles de Vent scarf

Outfit of the day 02/10/18 with Hermès’ La Femme aux Semelles de Vent scarf

Outfit of the day 07/09/18 with Hermès’ La Femme aux Semelles de Vent scarf

Outfit of the day 07/09/18 with Hermès’ La Femme aux Semelles de Vent scarf

Yes, you can see that I adore animal print! I will find other ways to wear this wonderful scarf and perhaps tone the animal side down a bit in future. Or, perhaps not!

Scarf ties

Here are a few scarf knots which work well:

La Femme aux Semelles de Vent – scarf ties

1) Top row L-R: asymmetric wrap, bias fold with shawl ring
2) Centre row L-R: half-bow knot, loose fold over with bias fold
3) Bottom row L-R: bias fold, asymmetric wrap reversed

I think that the borders and corners of this scarf deserve to be highlighted as much as possible. With this colourway, I am planning to avoid wearing the central image, in sepia, next to my face so will not use knots which showcase this.

Background information

1) More about the scarf

HappyFace313
Hermès La Femme aux Semelles de Vent
An appreciation of two colourways of the scarf in English and German.

Hermesology
La Femme aux Semelles de Vent (2009]
Short entry with useful information.

MaiTai’s Picture Book
Scarf Profile – La Femme aux Semelles de Vent
Information and images of MaiTai’s colourway of the scarf.

The Purse Forum
Ode to La Femme aux Semelles de Vent
Long thread with masses of information and modelling photos.

2) La Femme herself, Alexandra David-Néel

Wikipedia
Alexandra David-Néel
Main article about this amazing woman.

Bonjour Paris
The Extraordinary Alexandra David-Néel: First European Woman to Travel to the Forbidden City of Lhasa
Informative article. Apparently there have been celebrations for her 150th anniversary in France this year!

P.S. The design was used for other items. See this article about the watch:

Time Transformed
Slim d’Hermès La Femme aux Semelles de Vent


I hope readers have found this exploration of La Femme aux Semelles de Vent both interesting and useful. Once again, if you find any errors or have any additional information that I could add, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes,

💜💚💛💙❤️

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Outfit of the day 12/10/18

The weather has really changed today, from blue skies and sunshine to heavy grey clouds and strong winds. We didn’t feel like going out, so we watched recorded programmes on the TV and did a few tasks from our household to-do list. Changing loads of blown lightbulbs was one of them, with me struggling to climb the step ladder and Lovely Husband holding on so that I felt safe. If someone had filmed us it would have made a very funny video!

Outfit of the day 12/10/18 with Hermès’ Coup de Fouet au Bloc twilly

Outfit of the day 12/10/18 with Hermès’ Coup de Fouet au Bloc twilly

No collage today, but this is a photo of my outfit. Twillies make cute handbag decorations, but they are also nice to wear and can lift up a very simple purple cashmere top!

Today’s outfit:

  • Purple cashmere short sleeved t-shirt – Pure Collection.
  • Navy cotton stretch cord trousers – Lands’ End.
  • Amethyst and silver earrings – Blue Nile.
  • Silk twilly in mauve, violet, blue, yellow and green – Coup de Fouet au Bloc – Hermès. Tied using a tiny horn scarf ring by MaiTai.

I hope that all my visitors have great weekends.

Best wishes,

💜💙💜💙💜

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Outfit of the day 11/10/18

Yesterday was such a positive day. Somehow, the stars and planets were aligned and both Lovely Husband and I felt well enough to go out. In addition, it was really gorgeous day with a bright blue sky and sunshine – beautiful 😀.

We had a wander around a garden centre and a cup of tea and chat. I think that I actually walked quite a long way because my legs and ankles felt really stiff when I got home, but that was no problem. I like to feel that I have managed even a little bit of exercise. I also managed to avoid spending any money – apart from on drinks! Pretty amazing for me 😆.

Anyway, I wore my nice navy cashmere v-neck again and it was actually too warm for it! I dressed it with my favourite Owl in the City scarf by Aspinal and my new sparkly owl brooch. I had to remove the scarf in the end as I was heating up so much.

Outfit of the day 11/10/18 with Aspinal’s Owl in the City scarf

Outfit of the day 11/10/18 with Aspinal’s Owl in the City scarf

Today’s (yesterday’s really) outfit:

  • Navy cashmere v-neck jumper – John Lewis.
  • Navy cotton stretch cord trousers – Lands’ End.
  • Navy suede ankle boots – Duo Boots.
  • Crystal and gold earrings.
  • Crystal and gold tone owl brooch – Sonrisa Boutique.
  • Silk scarf, 90cm, in navy, blues, grey and white – Owl in the City – Aspinal.

Best wishes,

💙❤️💛💚💜

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Reading roundup 10/10/18

I have read two books this week, started a third and have eight in my library pile. Some of the latter are reservations of books by favourite authors. Oh, libraries are so great!

Too Close for Comfort by Eleanor Moran

Too Close for Comfort by Eleanor Moran

The first book was Too Close for Comfort by Eleanor Moran. Here is the blurb:

Mia Cosgrove is a high-flying psychotherapist with a thriving practice, but when she receives a desperate phone call from her oldest friend, Lysette, she puts her London life on hold to rush to her side. A friend of Lysette’s, Sarah, has plunged to her death from the top of a multi-storey car park, a text message on her phone next to her, simply saying ‘I’m sorry’ with a single X, left unsent and unaddressed.

At first the police are convinced it’s a suicide, but when another death rocks the rural community Mia is asked to help the ramped-up investigation. Why are the close-knit group of mums who surrounded Sarah so reluctant to share what they knew about their beautiful, troubled friend? And how high a price will Mia pay for her determination to unearth the truth and discover what really happened?

I did enjoy the book, but only gave it three stars rather than four. My review on Goodreads explains why:

I enjoyed the book and read it, more or less, in one go as I wanted to find out whodunnit! The characters were fairly unlikeable with a group of pretty unpleasant women at the centre. The plot was gripping enough for me, although a little confusing in places. I would have given the book four stars, but the author’s constant ominous predictions at the ends of chapters and sections became extremely irritating. This would put me right off reading any of her other books!

I am a bit iffy, as a feminist, about books with female friendship groups where the main dynamic seems to be bitchiness. Mind you, as a realist, I know that these groups do exist usually with a queen bee type managing the members!

Nucleus by Rory Clements

Nucleus by Rory Clements

My second read was Nucleus by Rory Clements, #02 in his Tom Wilde series. I have already read the first book in the series, Corpus, back in November 2017, and really enjoyed it. Here is the blurb for Nucleus:

June 1939. England is partying like there is no tomorrow, gas masks at the ready. In Cambridge the May Balls are played out with a frantic intensity – but the good times won’t last… In Europe, the Nazis have invaded Czechoslovakia, and in Germany the persecution of the Jews is now so widespread that desperate Jewish parents send their children to safety in Britain aboard the Kindertransport. Closer to home, the IRA’s S-Plan bombing campaign has resulted in more than 100 terrorist outrages around England.

But perhaps the most far-reaching event of all goes largely unreported: in Germany, Otto Hahn has produced the first man-made fission and an atomic device is now a very real possibility. The Nazis set up the Uranverein group of physicists: its task is to build a superbomb. The German High Command is aware that British and US scientists are working on similar line. Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory is where the atom was split in 1932. Might the Cambridge men now win the race for a nuclear bomb? Hitler’s generals need to be sure they know all the Cavendish’s secrets. Only then will it be safe for Germany to wage war.

When one of the Cavendish’s finest brains is murdered, Professor Tom Wilde is once more drawn into an intrigue from which there seems no escape. In a conspiracy that stretches from Cambridge to Berlin and from Washington DC to the west coast of Ireland, he faces deadly forces that threaten the fate of the world.

Well, this second book was great as well. This is my review:

What a great ride this was! I loved the fast pace of the plot, the intrigue, and the fascinating and well drawn characters. Taking place mainly in Cambridge with war looming, we get spies, murder, flirting, daring, bombs and aerial acrobatics. Never mind thrilling motorbike rides! For once in this type of book we also get several interesting female characters too. Highly recommended.

I cannot wait to read read the next book in the series. This would transfer well to TV, I think.

Snare by Lilja Siggurdardottir

Snare by Lilja Siggurdardottir

I am about a quarter of the way through Snare by Lilja Siggurdardottir and I will write about this book next week. It is set in Iceland and translated into English and has a very different flavour. Good reading so far.

Happy Reading to you all!

Best wishes,

📚📖📚📖📚

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Outfit of the day 09/10/18

The day began with rather a kerfuffle with Elder Son. His autism means that he hates sudden changes of plan and rapid decision-making, so we had to do a lot of calming down and sorting out. Or rather, Lovely Husband had to do the sorting out whilst I did the calming down. After that, we have both enjoyed the peace and quiet!

I have been wearing a nice outfit today with my first ever Hermès scarf: La Promenade de Platon. This shows scenes of Ancient Greek sporting activity, surrounded by foliage. I really love the colours. Unfortunately, I was unable to make a collage today as I realised that I didn’t have photos of some of the items. So here is my selfie…

Outfit of the day 09/10/18 with Hermès’ La Promenade de Platon scarf

Outfit of the day 09/10/18 with Hermès’ La Promenade de Platon scarf

Today’s outfit:

  • Turquoise cashmere v-neck jumper – John Lewis. This is exactly the same design as the one I wore yesterday, but a lot older. The colour is wonderful (yet again, my iPad camera has turned it to blue) and I wish I could replace it as it has several moth holes!
  • Navy cotton stretch cord trousers – Lands’ End.
  • Gold Celtic style hoop earrings.
  • Purple crystal and gold tone pendant – Marks and Spencer.
  • Purple leather and pale gold Gancio wrap bracelet – Ferragamo. These purple shades pick up the colour of the scarf’s contrast hem.
  • Silk scarf, 90cm, in turquoise, beige, brick, and purple – La Promenade de Platon – Hermès.

Right, now I am going to open a new book – Reading Roundup post tomorrow.

Best wishes,

💚❤️💜💙💛

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Outfit of the day 08/10/18

At the weekend I did my twice-yearly wardrobe swapover. I don’t have a large closet space in our bedroom (one rail for tops and another for longer items, plus various drawers), so I have to keep some clothes in one section of Younger Son’s large triple wardrobe. I sorted through all of my warm weather clothing, retaining vests and t-shirts to act as base layers, and moving out light and thin dresses, jackets, skirts and trousers. Some items went into the charity shop pile.

I then went through my colder weather clothing (again some items were put aside for the charity shop), and re-hung it on my bedroom rails. As I did this, I re-arranged all my tops into colours so that it will be easier to find items that I need. So, for example, all of my cardigans, t-shirts, cashmere, blouses and twinsets in navy are all together, no matter what fabric they are made from. Thicker and heavier sweaters are stored in drawers as I don’t like to put them on clothes hangers. Trousers (including jeans), skirts, dresses and jackets are all on a different rail.

Whilst my wardrobe was empty, I took the opportunity to give it a good clean, replace moth repellers and tidy up my shoe collection. I also keep a bag packed with items I might need if I am taken into hospital, so I double-checked the contents. This is a sensible precaution as I have been taken there by ambulance several times over the last few years.

I wish I had a better space to store my growing handbag collection! Oh, for one of those glamorous closets that you see in magazines 😍.

Today has been rather ordinary, although I have really enjoyed my book, which I will write about on Wednesday. I have tried to dress nicely, though, and am wearing my best navy cashmere jumper for the first time this season. This outfit feels very fresh and cheerful 😁.

Outfit of the day 08/10/18 with Karine Assaf’ A Feminist at Heart scarf

Outfit of the day 08/10/18 with Karine Assaf’ A Feminist at Heart scarf

Today’s outfit:

  • Navy cashmere v-neck jumper – John Lewis. This is a lovely bright navy.
  • Navy cotton stretch cord trousers – Lands’ End.
  • Navy suede ankle boots – Duo Boots.
  • Cobalt blue crystal and silver earrings – Sonrisa Boutique.
  • Blue Iris leather and light gold Vara wrap bracelet – Ferragamo.
  • Silk scarf, 70cm, in blues, white, orange and grey – A Feminist at Heart – Karine Assaf. Tied loosely using a MaiTai horn scarf ring.

I wonder if any of you have noticed that I am wearing lipstick more often? I have never been keen on lippie, but have realised that it really lifts my face, especially with grey hair. I have also found one that I like and that seems to stay put, despite my awful habit of biting it off! Perhaps I can now begin to understand my Mum, who wouldn’t leave the house without it!

Best wishes,

💙💛💜❤️💚

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Update 05/10/18 with new purchases

Oh, it is about time that I showed you my latest buys! If you read Tuesday’s post, you may remember that I managed to stagger into my favourite local boutique, Sonrisa, after my haircut. I had seen a pretty brooch on their Facebook wall and asked them to reserve it for me.

Here it is – three butterflies linked together, sparkling in pink, pale green and teal…

Butterfly brooch - Sonrisa

Butterfly brooch – Sonrisa

Yes, it is really sparkly and bright! It works beautifully as a brooch, but it also has a metal loop at the back to turn it into a pendant. I don’t have a suitable chain, but found a gold organza ribbon in my sewing box, passed it through the loop and tied it into a bow. It looks lovely with my bright teal twinset. I took a couple of photos, but am a bit peeved that the true colour of the twinset doesn’t show in the photo, instead it looks blue. Never mind, you can get the general idea. As it is such a showy piece, I would tone down any other accessories and restrict myself to my watch, small plain earrings and perhaps a pink enamel bangle at most.

Butterfly brooch worn in different ways

Butterfly brooch worn in different ways

The brooch would also work as a handbag charm with my amethyst Victoria handbag, what do you think?

Whilst I was in the shop, I also spotted a little owl brooch. We have a thing about owls in this family, so I couldn’t resist this. It is only small, but very bling!

Owl brooch - Sonrisa

Owl brooch – Sonrisa

Another large parcel arrived this morning, but I am going to make you all wait for the reveal. This is a birthday present to myself, so I will leave it until November to show you 😀😍😀😍😀.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Best wishes,

💗💕💖💕💗

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