Shooting the Hermès

When he met photographer Koto Bolofo in 2002, Hermès chairman Jean-Louis Dumas was overwhelmed to learn that the two shared an unusual bond. Once upon a time, Dumas’ great-great grandfather had been a missionary and traveled to South Africa, where he was protected by Bolofo’s tribe, the Sothos. Talk about a cosmic connection. Dumas immediately granted Bolofo exclusive, unlimited access to Hermès’ secret workshops, to photograph whatever he pleased.

Seven years later, this month, Bolofo launches La Maison (Steidl), an elaborate, eleven-volume book of photographs that beautifully documents the label’s illustrious universe, from the coveted Kelly bag, trademark silk scarves, and leather goods to ready-to-wear and perfume.

Focusing on intricate details, Bolofo shot each of these Hermès treasures throughout the production process. Even Hermès’ private museum on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honorè is revealed in this unprecedented collection, a poetic intersection of style and substance. Technically, the tome is $238, but really, it’s priceless.

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