The Passing of Leïla Menchari

After the announcement of Sergio Rossi’s death, another creative mastermind has left us. This morning, I received the announcement that «it is with great emotion and sadness that the House of Hermès learned on the 4th of April 2020 the passing of Leïla Menchari, the Queen of Enchantment as Michel Tournier called her.»

The book in English entitled «Leïla Menchari, the Queen of Enchantment» can be ordered online on the Hermès website and shows most of her works for the French Maison.

Born in 1927 in Tunis, Leïla was a trained painter at the Beaux Arts School of fine arts in Tunis, then the Beaux Arts School of fine arts in Paris, she was a model for Guy Laroche for a while, before entering the Annie Beaumel‘s decoration team at Hermès in 1961.

Window display S/S 1995 with a sculpture by Christian Renonciat

An outstanding dreamer and storyteller, she was the Artistic Director of the windows of 24 Faubourg, the Hermès flagship store in Paris. Her visual concepts never ceased to arouse curiosity, astonishment and surprise to the amazement of passers-by, creating windows that opened to another realm. «Thanks to Leïla, exoticism found a home, happily and permanently, in Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré», says Axel Dumas.

The glass green grotto from 1992 was among of Leïla’s highlights.

In 2017, Hermès à tire-d’aile, les Mondes de Leïla Menchari, an exhibition which celebrated her vision at the Grand Palais, allowed a wider audience discover her unique and poetic universe.
Leïla Menchari has long been the driving force behind the House’s Colours Committee, leaving a legacy through her elegance and her extraordinary sense of nuance evident in the Women’s Silk collection.

Sandy dreams from the land of the pharaohs in 2005.

«Many of us at Hermès have learned a lot from Leïla. She taught us to look at the world through the prism of color. She was a storyteller without equal that enchanted the world. We are infinitely grateful to her for all that she has done for us, that she passed on to us», adds Pierre-Alexis Dumas.

Primary colors in 1982.

An open, generous, resolutely modern woman, she was a woman of freedom. Her passing leaves to all those who had the joy of knowing and working with her, on both sides of the Mediterranean, the memory of a perpetual quest for beauty, a boundless passion for creation and craftsmanship.

Rest in Peace, Leïla Menchari! Below you can enjoy more of her amazing creations that might inspire you to redecorate your home …

LoL, Sandra

Leïla working in the windows on a display.

Photos: © Hermès

Blossom: Prada’s New Store Windows

Prada presents images created by Thomas Demand for the new window displays for its stores across the world, a radically beautiful and colourful sequence of blossoming cherry trees that celebrates the arrival of spring.

Hanami – which means ‘flower viewing’ – is the centuries-old Japanese art of enjoying the beauty of flowers. The cherry blossom season, a highpoint in the year, marks the end of winter and represents the youth, zest for life and emotion embodied by spring, a truly universal image and a powerful symbol of energy.

Spread seamlessly across the shop’s windows, Demand’s floral images, entitled Blossom, give rise to a vibrant narrative which, inserted into the real world, creates a new dialogue with passers-by in cities around the world.

This work fits perfectly into the German artist’s oeuvre, which has the concept of photography as a global language at its heart. Demand is known for making photographs of three-dimensional models that look like real images of rooms and other spaces, often sites loaded with social and political meanings. He thus describes himself not as a photographer, but as a conceptual artist for whom photography is an intrinsic part of his creative process. Having studied sculpture under Fritz Schwegler at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf alongside Katharina Fritsch and Thomas Schütte, Demand began his career as a sculptor. In 1993, he began to use photography to record his elaborate, life-sized paper-and-cardboard constructions of actually or formerly existing environments and interior spaces, and soon started to create constructions for the sole purpose of photographing them. The photograph he takes of this model with a large-format-camera is the final stage of his work, and it is only this image, most often executed in an edition of six, that is exhibited unframed behind Plexiglas, not the models. On the contrary, Demand destroys his «life-size environments» after he has photographed them.

In this series for Prada, Demand once again rebuilds existing images and replaces them with an artificial version of themselves. In his collaboration with Prada, his work encounters and enters into a fruitful exchange with the world of fashion.

The installations, with a curved or box-shaped illuminated backdrop, are rounded off by steel display stands with a matte pink Perspex surface, or illuminated cylinders with the same floral pattern as the scenery.

Te display can be admired at Prada’s stores in New York, Milan, Paris, London, Tokyo, Singapore, Los Angeles and other selected cities starting this month.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Prada – © Thomas Demand