This cute gavroche is a very recent addition to my collection. Appaloosa des Steppes is yet another wonderful Alice Shirley design for Hermès and was introduced first as a 90cm silk twill and a cashmere/silk 140cm shawl for the Spring/Summer 2017 season. Alice Shirley is such an amazing designer and I find that I am drawn to her work!
When I first saw the design I was interested but was not thrilled by any of the colourways for the 90cm size. I was also unsure about the effect that would be created by the Appaloosa “spots” when tied. The design was then reissued for the current season, Autumn/Winter 2017, as a gavroche and everything came together for me! Colourway #06 in turquoise, green and yellow is simply perfect for me in the small gavroche size.
The design shows an Appaloosa horse against textile patterns and motifs from Far Eastern countries such as Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The horse’s mane flows softly and stands out against the background as do the famous “spots”. There is a contrast rolled hem and a border of triangles.
Here are the colourways of the 90cm silk twill:
These colourways for the 140cm cashmere/silk shawl are so gorgeous and vibrant:
These are the colourways of the 45cm gavroche:
The design story is so interesting:
This daring composition combines some of the traditional motifs of Kyrgyzstan, the mountainous country of Central Asia, with the spotted coat of an Appaloosa, the horse bred for centuries by the Nez Perce Native American tribe in the north-west of the United States. The motifs against which the silhouette of the animal stands out are inspired by shyrdaks, felt carpets made by Kyrgyz women according to ancestral techniques passed on from mother to daughter. Warm, solid, insulating, indispensable and beautiful, they form one of the great riches of nomadic life. The illustrator Alice Shirley took pains to faithfully reproduce the legacies of this little-known culture.
I have worn the scarf quite a few times since I bought it and I am sure that I will continue to reach for it throughout the year as the colours fit so well with my favourite clothes. Here you can see how nicely it goes with my recent twin-set purchase from Lands’ End.
The collage below shows the gavroche with my teal linen jacket and jeans. It looks great with shades of turquoise, teal and blue and would also tone nicely with green, pink and yellow.
I wear it in either a simple triangle/cowboy tie or in a bias fold tie. If you own an Hermès’ Mors scarf ring, you could use that beautifully with this gavroche.
I think this will work as an all-season scarf!
As I researched the background of this scarf, I found out that it illustrates a controversy surrounding the origins of the Appaloosa horse breed. So, I have put links and videos here about the horses and, further down, about the wonderful textile patterns from Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyzstan: The Hermès Scarf and the Appaloosa Horse
A fascinating recent article about the controversy.
Appaloosa horse breed:
Article about the horse breed. Detailed with many references.
Appaloosa Horse Club UK
History of the Appaloosa
Textiles of Kyrgyzstan:
Article about floor or wall coverings made in Kyrgyzstan.
Selling page with lovely images showing the motifs.
Facts and Details
Detailed and informative page.
Shyrdak: Silk Road Textile
The Meaning of Patterns in Felt Rugs
Blog post explaining the meaning of the motifs and patterns.
I hope that readers have enjoyed this exploration of Hermès’ Appaloosa des Steppes. As usual, please let me know if I have made any mistakes or if you know further information that I could add to this post. I really want my Scarf of the Moment posts to be useful and interesting.