This autumn, the Grand Palais presents the enchanting creativity that Tunisian designer Leïla Menchari brought to the House of Hermès. This free exhibition looks back at the dreams and inspiration of the designer, who rubbed shoulders with the world of fashion and who was notably famous for the window displays that she created for this luxury goods house.
Hermès trusted Menchari blindly, giving her carte blanche to install a new display for the vitrine of 24 Faubourg Saint-Honoré four times a year for 35 years, home to the store located at the label’s historic headquarters, before the honor went to Antoine Platteau in 2014.
“I always wanted it to be something authentic, sincere. I happened to be a surrealist, I loved it, but always dealing with real stuff, things that people could recognise. Sometimes things had to be unexpected, unusual, surprising, they had to speak out to people,” Menchari said.
“I have always loved storytelling. And here, that’s all I do.”
The exhibition’s set design is by Nathalie Crinière, and will consist of eight sketches featuring Menchari’s enchanting decorations, in which materials play the starring role. The exhibition is designed to immerse visitors into the artist’s fantastic, poetic world. Menchari is well-known for her travels to Asia, where she unearthed the most unexpected objects.
In 1998 Tunisia ‘s President decorated Menchari with the “Commandeur de l’ordre de la Republique Tunisienne. “ In 1995, she became a “Chevalier de l’ordre du mérite” of France. In 2006 she received the Golden Dido award, the highest distinction awarded to a woman in Tunisia, for her contribution to Tunisia ‘s cultural influence in the world.
“When designing a scene, there must always be some mystery, for mystery is the springboard to dreams. Mystery is an invitation to fill in the gaps left by the imagination. This is how Leïla Menchari explains one of the secrets behind the success of her flamboyant window displays. […] With the ‘Hermès à tire-d’aile – Les mondes de Leïla Menchari’ exhibition, I invite you to share this otherworldliness composed of travel, mischief and beauty… Once again, Leïla Menchari is enchanting us.” Axel Dumas, Chief Executive Officer, Hermès.
Hermès à tire-d’aile – Les mondes de Leïla Menchari, is open from November 8th to December 3rd 2017, Grand Palais – Galerie Sud, free entry.