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On the Silk Mix: Christophe Goineau talks fusion of fashion and music

Stopover in Dubai
Hermès' Dubai Mall boutique launched Silk Milk earlier this month – a temporary installation inspired by the atmosphere of a vinyl record store for S/S'19's Ties and Scarves collection. Tales are told in silk, if you will, in a travelling concept around the world. On his Dubai stopover, Christophe Goineau, the Creative Director of Men's Silk at Hermès spoke to Buro. Middle East on how fashion and music have come together for this unique concept...

‘Let men’s silk be music to your ears’ is the mantra for Hermès’ S/S’19 Ties and Scarves collection. Revolutionising the simplicity of accessories, Hermès has elevated narratives from the world of music onto ties and scarves in a travelling concept called Silk Mix. 

The temporary installation in the Dubai Mall boutique saw a vast collection of scarves and ties were on display – some hanging, some positioned as records on picture rails. The idea is that the pleasure of wearing a tie or scarf is akin to the thrill of picking a record to play.

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On his global tour with Silk Mix, Creative Director of Men’s Silk at Hermès, Christophe Goineau made a pitstop in Dubai and we caught up with him. 

What has your journey with Hermès been like since you first started?

It feels like I have changed positions more than a few times! If you look at the house even just 10 years ago, it’s very different from the one we see today. When I joined, I started on the commercial side. However, I soon realised how important the product side is at Hermès. The amount of energy that goes into the quality and detail of the product is so unique at Hermès. Along the way, I also met so many passionate people who invigorated me and helped shape my path. Today I am the Creative Director of Men’s Silk at Hermès. Silk was something that surprised me for all its possibilities. You can do whatever you like with it in terms of prints and the stories you want to develop. It’s very freeing.

How did the concept for music and fashion come together for Silk Mix?

For the Silk Milk project, I worked closely with Véronique Nichanian, the Artistic Director of the Hermès men’s universe. When we looked at the men’s silk collection, we thought scarves could make for nice vinyl record covers/sleeves. They’re both square and the attention given to the artwork is always sophisticated.That’s when we thought we should bring the men’s silk collection to life through a record store and got onboard Thierry Planel, who does all of the music for Veronique’s RTW shows. For example, if we had a scarf from 2010, we asked him to work of the music from the 2010 runway show. Music unlocks memories. That’s the joy of it. A day without music, is a day lost.

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What are the challenges faced when there is a need to constantly create things that haven’t been done before? 

I am fortunate enough to be given freedom in my work. At the beginning of each new creative process, Véronique Nichanian and I will ping pong ideas – we both know exactly what we want – we then find common ground and work with it. I also sometimes go back to the Hermès archives to give me a fresh perspective on what’s been done already and where we can go from here.

The brand’s profile is tapping into younger vibes, what is the Hermès strategy moving forward?

I don’t think Hermès wasn’t ever young. I think we have always been in tune with the times around us. But we don’t really consider ourselves as a fashion house. Instead we have our own way of doing things.

How is offering high-end experiences beyond retail harnessing the brand’s DNA and why is it important to offer this to the Hermès customer?

Silk Mix is very concrete and connected with people. It’s a small and intimate kind of gathering where people can socialise but more importantly have a great time and have fun.

On the Silk Mix journey, why is Dubai a great stopover?

There’s such a great sense of energy in Dubai. It’s strong here. Music is also something that connects every part of the world and in Dubai, it resonates so well with the huge diversity of people here.

Now, read about why Guerlain’s first perfumer, Thierry Wasser, finds his happy place in the Middle East