This Scarf of the Moment post is about the gorgeous and intriguing Persepolis scarf, designed by Sophie Koechlin for Hermès in 2000, and also reissued several times since. I am not sure of the date of my own version (nor the season). I see this as the sister scarf to my Les Secrets de Minos, by the same designer.
I told the story of my acquisition of the scarf from Rennies when I wrote the reveal post: Update 13/02/18 and reveal! As I have said before, I have continued to collect Hermès scarves over the last four years and have realised that there are many designs which appeal to my interests and experiences in life. I have a BA and an MA in Ancient History and Archaeology and part of my studies touched on Ancient Persia and its empire. This scarf’s design is inspired by the art, architecture and symbolism of the period.
The design elements of the scarf were inspired by the art of the Ancient Persians in the city of Persepolis, which means City of the Persians in Greek. The city dates from around 515 BC until its destruction by the armies of Alexander the Great in 330 BC. In the Background section below, I have included information from websites and videos about the ancient city.
My scarf is the 90cm silk twill (I am not sure if the design has been produced in any other versions) and it has a wide border in a rich, glowing red surrounding a design utilising many shades of red, teal, blue, purple and yellow. The design is unfussy with simple shapes, clear colours and minimal use of shading. People and mythical animals are very stylised. The four corners have images of human figures set into decorated triangles. Larger images, including an oared ship, rest on top, orientated towards the centre of the scarf. This enables lovely scarf ties when worn. The central part of the design shows King Darius I in his horse-drawn chariot with his soldiers and slaves. Intriguing creatures and plants are placed around the design.
I have not been able to find many good images of all of the many different colourways, so will add more if I find any better ones at a later date:
This is the design story from the Fall 2000/01 scarf booklet:
In our innocence we believe the world to be eternal. But where did all the great civilizations of antiquity end up? What happened to the Persian Empire, with all its warriors and navigators, whom Alexander once dreamed of defeating? We are left with the theories of historians who tire themselves out by recreating lives from dusty ruins. Poor souls, they see only with the dull eyes of erudition. So, to offer them the spectacle of bubbling reality, here is Darius I, the founder of Persepolis, amongst his royal guard and followed by his faithful retinue.
Here are some closeups of my scarf in a sideshow format:
How I wear the scarf
I have worn the scarf only once so far, as it was given to me as a present at the beginning of this week. As the border is so wide, I would tend to use scarf knots which highlight the central portions. You can see some of my suggestions in the next section below.
The best colours to wear with it appear to be blues, turquoise and teal, and perhaps purple. You can see it below with one of my Lands’ End twin-sets in bright teal. I have several outfits that would suit the scarf well, even if the colours in this scarf are quite a departure from my usual choices!
I have many accessories in shades of blue, teal and purple which will be lovely with the scarf.
Here are a few ties that I have tried out with the scarf and I will add more in the future if I decide to tie it in different ways. Even though the border is so wide, it is such a gorgeous shade of red that it worth showing off!
Top row L-R: simple bias fold, reverse bias fold, necklace knot.
Middle row L-R: cowboy cowl knot, cowl knot, cowboy knot.
Bottom row L-R: asymmetric wrap, asymmetric wrap reversed, neck wrap.
Horn shawl and scarf rings by MaiTai – link in the sidebar.
Now, here are a few links to give you information about Persepolis and the Persian Empire:
Main article about the ancient city.
Ancient History Encyclopedia
Persian art: an introduction
Whole section to explore on Persian Art and the city of Persepolis. Excellent resource.
I hope you have enjoyed this tour around Hermès’ Persepolis. My next project will be to update another of my existing Scarf of the Moment posts. Any votes as to which one you would like me to tackle first?