Hermes is one of those “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” brands. Its silk scarves are coveted and collected as genuine works of art, the ultimate in elegance, refinement, and taste. Artists around the world are commissioned to produce unique designs for Hermes scarves. Each pattern is painstakingly engraved by Hermes artisans who typically take 750 hours to achieve Hermes’ nuanced colors and detailed design. Requiring an average of 27 ink colors, the image is silk-screened onto fine silk cloth. Although more than 2,000 Hermes scarf designs now exist, with 20 new designs issued each year, the look, classic and opulent, is decidedly Hermes. Dramatic colors and bold designs are the signature of the Hermes brand. Saying anything more would be redundant. This explains why the catalog and video ad for Hermes’ spring 2014 Soie Folle collection is without voiceover or marketing text.
When you think of it, words get in the way of appreciating typography. You find yourself reading what’s said and paying scant attention to the characters from which the words are composed. In fact, idiosyncratic typefaces can be distracting and irritating if you are trying to read long passages. Type should affect the reader on a subliminal level, adding to the reader’s enjoyment, not stressing the eyes or competing for the reader’s attention. But as graphic forms, typefaces can be beautiful, elegant, whimsical, futuristic, historic, geometric, sculptural, and even funny, if you count Comic Sans. Used as a design element, quirky fonts can add a lot of spice to a page.
Drink plenty of water and get lots of exercise is the message behind this video by Contrex, a metabolism-boosting French mineral water owned by Nestle. Made by Paris-based agency Marcel, the Contrex ad posted on YouTube and Facebook features a row of hot pink stationary bikes connected to power a 3D projection map. A number of attractive young women step out of the crowd and hop on the bikes. Their peddling is what sets the neon-lit male stripper in motion. Finally, he takes it all off, except for a sign reading “Congratulations! You’ve just burned 2,000 calories.” The tagline says “Slimming down shouldn’t have to be boring.”
If the existentialist playwright Jean-Paul Sartre had a house cat, it would undoubtedly have Henri’s morose outlook on life. This video short is written and directed by Will Braden, with narration in French by Will Braden, who lives in Seattle, Washington, and doesn’t speak French as his first language. Braden’s video production business is mostly engaged in making videographs of wedding receptions and producing special video projects for local organizations. He keeps his creative senses and his sense of humor sharp by producing his own film shorts. This one is a sequel to Henri’s first appearance in a short that Braden made as a student film project in 2007.
Chanel let its Le Vernis line of fingernail polish take centerstage with this choreographed dance number by Grammy-nominated director Patrick Daughters and French set designer Aline Bonetto. Sassy fingers strut down a mini-runway to the doo-wop tune of “Little Bitty Pretty One” by Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers and break into chorus-line steps. The set incorporates several of the couture house’s symbols including the double “C” logo, pearl necklaces, and Coco Chanel’s famous mirrored spiral staircase. The closing credit cites the starring roles of the nail polish shades.