Hermès' Petit H Pop-Up Shop of Recycled Treasures Heads to L.A.Hermès family—is to be held rapt by tales from a dreamlike adolescence: Early summers spent sailing toy boats in Cannes, a journey to rural Brazil marked by the unexpected discovery of hundreds of seahorses. It’s enough to make you want to grab your loved ones and move to France, or at least straight out into the haze of early summer, chic accessories in tow. So it’s no wonder then that Mussard is the progenitor of Petit H, a project that makes use of her family’s vast and textured history.
The four-year-old Petit H is what Mussard calls her “laboratory,” though it’s less Dr. Frankenstein and more “The Island of Lost Toys” meets the old adage of "Waste Not, Want Not." Petit H collects the unused scraps and byproducts from Hermès’ other salons—hides and exotic skins in discontinued colorations, broken glassware and flawed porcelain, silks from discarded scarves—and employs local artists and craftsmen to create exquisite bibelots. Often, these seem to be born straight from Mussard’s memories: There’s a selection of petit bateaus with sails cut of vivid silk, and those unexpected seahorses have a turn as delicate leather ornaments, joining winged-teapot table lamps, alligator-paneled toy cars, painstakingly hand-painted rocking horses, and box-calf-covered bookcases. All impart the expert care that Hermès is renowned for.
“I was speaking with Jean de Loisy—he’s the head of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris—and he told me something very interesting,” reflects Mussard. “He said that Marcel Duchamp changed the way we think of art, and everyone thinks it’s because of the urinoir. But actually, it was an earlier work that started the conversation—it was a bilboquet.” That it was Duchamp’s children’s game—a cup-and-ball affixed by a simple string, the sort of instrument that trains hand-eye coordination—that began to change the course of art history is something Mussard thinks of often. “It’s not necessarily whatever it is you’re seeing,” she says, “It’s how you’re seeing it. It’s about what you’re trying to convey, and that can be done with something as simple as a toy.” In this case, a toy rendered exsquisitely in Hermès silk and calfskin.
On June 13, her newest lineup (replete with more than 4,000 such wares) will touch down at Los Angeles’ South Coast Plaza. But will they arrive on a Petit H’s enameled airplane? “I’d like to send a full-size boat that we’ve been working on, but . . . shipping . . .” quips Mussard.
The latest edition of Petit H will be available at Hermès’ South Coast Plaza store at 3333 Bristol Street Suite 1424, Costa Mesa, from June 13 until June 29. It will also be available online.