The collector: Jan Marriott, Toronto, Canada.
The collection: Vintage scarves - Hermes, Liberty, Jacqmar & old Macclesfield silks.
The story behind the collection...
My first scarf was a 1950s small Liberty floral that was left behind in my parents' pub in Kent. I was about 14-15 years old. Coming to Canada in the 1960s I frequented church rummage (jumble) sales almost every Saturday morning, perhaps zeroing in on the scarves because that section was not as crowded as jewellery/china/linens etc. I soon amassed about 200. I have always loved vintage textiles.
When I retired (or was retired) about 18 years ago I started buying and selling textiles almost as a hobby. I had always kept my Liberty and Jacqmar scarves (about 800 by now) along with personal favourites. I really had not much idea about Hermes scarves until people started asking me for them and I realized I had several in my collection and started to sell some on ebay and at shows. In retrospect, I wish I had not. I do not mind giving them away.
As I got to know Hermes better I decided to keep them. I only buy at charity/thrift/op shops wherever I travel and, for me, the thrill is in the chase. I have about 50 now. The most I have ever paid is 7 pounds sterling at a charity shop in the Cotswolds.
I will buy in any condition, though perfect is nice. I am not overly fond of the typical equestrian motifs. I prefer the pictorial or older items.
They are kept in small tupperware bins in my closet and I display them by wearing them. Often a new favourite, this season it is 'L'Hiver' (above).
My collection reveals that I am a miserly cheapskate who loves colour and design and adores stumbling upon a find. Hermes are ideal to collect as they turn up fairly infrequently, enough to keep you on the hunt, but not so frequently as for them to become 'everyday' (as in Liberty) or never, as in a Peter Max scarf that I have yet to find.
I would really like a catalogue of every Hermes scarf ever printed, mainly so they could be dated. I do not think it exists. There is a glossy table book, The Hermes Scarf, but I find it a bit pretentious and it does not tell me what I would like to know.
Scarves are ideal to collect. They can be relatively inexpensive, the variety is infinite, you can wear them and they do not take up much room. It is possible to zero in on any category - an era, a designer, a country or a subject.
All Images © Jan Marriott and used with her kind permission.