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Shawls

The handkerchief.
The handkerchief has always played a key role within social situations. We know the importance it holds in the art of seduction, but its military use is much less known…In the XIXth century, French solders called to defend their nation were widely illiterate. In Rouen, a French region where handkerchiefs adorned of “useful knowledge” in Almanach Vermot’s way, are produced since 1850; we decide to create in 1874 the first educational hand-
kerchief. All Empires will promptly adopt this principle. After the outbreak of World War I, the printed patterns on neckerchiefs changed and took an inspiration from a military influence…even at women’s necks! From 1937, training manuals replaced neckerchiefs. It was on that same date that the brand Hermes produced its first
“carré de soie”(silk scarf). Thus the archetype of the “carré Hermès”, a symbol of prestige and luxury¹ is born.

Bridge.
Bridges, like silk scarves, have a military history. These are strategic locations for battles. Usually within the scope of civil engineering, military engineers are nonetheless asked to regularly design some.
The bridge is an object we naturally link to a man’s world. The specific bridge on the shawl can only be found on the reverse side of the 500-euro note. Invented by the graphic designer to represent the modern era (construction in modern materials…), he concludes the set of euro notes that each include a door and a bridge on the reverse side: symbol of openness and of connections between individual European countries. This suspension bridge, redrawn in vector format then duplicated symmetrically enables to create a geometrical and stable pattern, like the weaving of links by means of suspension cables.
Besides the implicit confrontation of genres (masculine oriented pattern on a female headscarf) there is here a categorical opposition between the hard geometry of the drawing and the lightness of the silk. This headscarf is thus not only a fashion accessory but becomes an object of art. This one is unique, unlike Hermes’ carres, certainly luxurious however through thousands of copies. Like in my embroidered work², there is an artistic gain on the object, given that it is referred to by the drawing of the bridge, directly drawn on the international monetary system.

Cups.
Trophies won during official races, these cups are rewards, an alternative to medals distinguishing a certain merit, like in the army. In that way, these objects remind the masculine universe.
The choice of the cups is also a question of formality. Very tacky objects, made of fake forged precious metal and marble, they are geometrically shaped, have an authoritarian value.
The gain also found here doesn’t only affect the object but the amount of effort given to win these rewards and the satisfaction they provide.

Frigate bird.
This stylised bird is a Papuan symbol. Only worn by men when on a kap kap, often cut out of tortoise-shell and fastened on a sea-shell, it represents the power of the individual. The more wings the frigate bird has, wealthier the human being is and so, more powerful he is.
The reproduction of this distinctive sign in vectorial drawing enables a geometrisation carried to the extreme, making the form graphically powerful.
The colour code used is the same as the current Papua New Guinea flag which follows the same colours as the German Colonial Empire, to whom that land belonged to.
The result achieved by the accumulation of all these codes is closer to a flag, to a banner rather than a fashion accessory. But if it had to be folded then worn, the pattern would adapt to cover up its imposing authority.

Penis sheath.
Only item of clothing worn in various primitive tribes, the penis sheaths has naturally become the only distinguishing feature and consequently the only ornament. The way it’s weaved, the colours employed, the adorned shells signify affiliation to a certain tribe, potential wealth, power…
Papuan object, obviously reminding the masculine universe, is nevertheless very abstract depending on its positioning on the silk square. This ambiguity is interesting and enables us to appreciate the pattern for its shape and colours, without going into an immediate conceptualisation.

Evolution.
For each of these shawls, the idea is to create an aesthetic pattern that we could imagine on ourselves. The resulting conceptualisation eventually comes second. It always comes to gender, power and benefits. It is somewhat reminiscent of the scarf’s history. Luxurious feminine accessory descended from the handkerchief, military accessory. Today, the male gender starts wearing silk scarves…A study about the feminine patterns could be interesting…

1 cf Exposition "Avec armes et bagages - Dans un mouchoir de poche" at Musée des Invalides, France.
2 cf Texte Decorations and other embellishments
See “les châles”