In the heart of Dallas lies a privately owned, ever-expanding art museum comprising nearly 1,000 objects spanning centuries of history. Founded in 2012, The Samurai Collection proudly displays the extensive compilation of Japanese samurai armor that collectors Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller have carefully amassed over the past 25 years. As one of the largest and most complete collections of its type in the world, some of its impressive suits of armor have been conscripted into a traveling exhibition around the world.
It was at one such exhibition that inspiration struck for an artist at famed fashion house Hermès.
Upon seeing the traveling exhibition “Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier Mueller Collection” in Paris in 2011, French artist Aline Honoré found herself immediately captivated by the ornate beauty of the ancient armor displayed. She brought her ideas to Hermès and six years later, the label released Parures de Samouraïs in 12 colorations. The intricate design was conceptualized by Honoré with insight from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier Mueller museum curators, Niña Barbier-Mueller Tollett and Jessica Beasley, as well as context gleaned from her own visit to the museum in Dallas.
The stunning scarf incorporates 14 elements found within the Samurai Collection, which permanently resides in Dallas’ HARWOOD District. The main source of inspiration can be found in a mogamidō tōsei gusoku, armor, a samurai suit created in 1849 during the peaceful Edo period. It integrates iron, gold, bronze, leather and lacquer in the piece, and even utilizes fine silk in its lacing.
Though the purpose of samurai armor couldn’t be more different than that of Hermès scarves, they both share intricate attention to detail, beautiful craftsmanship and a deep appreciation of art. Those elements are what make this collaboration a timeless masterpiece.
“There is great significance in understanding the ways of the noble samurai warrior and the values woven into the construction of every masterpiece,” Barbier-Mueller Tollett says. “We hope that the[se] masterpieces continue to inspire diverse expressionists around the world.”
Visit The Samurai Collection (which is always free) the next time you're in the HARWOOD District, or mark your calendar for the museum's complimentary guided tours—paired with complimentary beer and wine, plus a themed cocktail—that take place each month.
Photos of armor and museum interior: ©The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum/photo by Brad Flowers
Gallery: Hermes Scarves With Samurai Influence
All images Courtesy Hermès