Explanation and colourways of C'est la fête 70 vintage men scarf

  1. In the scarf topic much attention has gone to the new 70 scarf c’est la fête. It is a remarkable mix of old symbols with a new style. Here I will present an interpretation of the old symbols the scarf uses. I hope this will make you enjoy the scarf even more. I know, this post is a bit long, but I hope you will enjoy it nonetheless!

    The pictures of TPFer Miacillan are so far the best we have seen. Check them out here. Some other CWs can be found here, courtesy of TPFer lvj12.

    First things first: Horsey! That’s to say, the scarf is utterly traditional in that it depicts 5 horses and many items to be used for horse riding, such as leather harness, horseshoes, etc. This is important because the first thing we see are the skeletons and we might think it is outrageous for Hermes to do this (outrageous in the good sense ;)). So rest assured, buying this scarf will get you a very traditional Hermes carré.

    Now onto the real thing. Let us start with the middle part. The basis is the well-known circle with H (here in blue). On top of this we see a horse and horseman, but both as skeletons. This invokes very traditional symbolism of Western mysticism and gnosticism. Perhaps it is easiest explained as depicting the Tarot card of Death. In the card game of Tarot, the card of Death is exactly a skeleton horseman. Rest assured, it does not mean death. Instead, death is itself a symbol. Some frequent keywords used by tarot readers for the interpretation of Death are:

    ▪ Ending of a cycle——Loss——Conclusion——Sadness
    ▪ Transition into a new state——Psychological transformation
    ▪ Finishing up——Regeneration——Elimination of old patterns
    ▪ Being caught in the inescapable——Good-byes——Deep change

    So instead what we see here is that the scarf reminds us that the theme of this year The Gift of Time is something we are given but just as easily it is taken from us. As time passes things undeniably change and it is our task to deal with those changes. E.g. at some point we stop being adolescents and need to accept we are adults. When we become parents our life alters dramatically. And so on.

    In Tarot, the card of Death holds a banner with a flower and here the horseman does not hold a flag. We do notice roses in the top-left and bottom-right corner and again we may note that a rose is a traditional symbol for death and the withering of life. We grow, we blossom, and eventually we wither.

    The scarf goes much farther beyond this, though. Instead of the flag, the horseman is holding a staff with two snakes. This is none other than the staff of Hermes (the Greek god). Hermes-the-company took its name from its founder, but it has repeatedly shown respect to the many mythological and mystical stories around Hermes-the-historical-(and/or mythological)-figure. E.g. the two-snake staff also appears sometimes on their logo, e.g. when you order something online the accompanying letter shows this. Another example is that the Greek god Hermes was known by the Romans as Mercury and so the scarf Vif Argent may be seen as a pun on this.

    Because of the staff, we now know that the horseman is supposed to be Hermes. He was one of twelve great Gods of the Greeks who was the gods’ herald and messenger. That means, he was the one in charge to travel in between the divine world and the earthly world. As such, he brought messages from above to human beings in this world, but more important was his task of guide/escort of the dead to their new dwelling. In Greek mythology this meant that Hermes guided the dead down to Hades, the netherworld. But the name Hermes is also applied to the Egyptian mystic figure Thoth. The Egyptian Hermes imparts two kinds of knowledge in his books. First, it is possible to gain a degree of power in and control over the terrestrial world through a knowledge of the harmony of the stars and planets. Thus Hermes teaches, for example, the interpretation of heavenly signs for the future, as well as the occult properties of substances, such as different plants, and the astral powers they possess. Second, and more famously, Hermes teaches his disciples how to transcend their bodily circumstances and to overcome destiny through purification of the intellect and contemplation, leading to a true knowledge of God.

    Thus, through the centuries under influence of the great religions such Christianity and Islam, and more importantly due to mystical philosophy of Neoplatonism, Hermes would no longer lead people down, but up. After shedding our material self, our flesh, we would enter the Divine World itself, to become like Angels. Our body may go corrupt, but our eternal soul, made of immaterial light, would live on forever. This is indicated by the figures being skeletons, as the flesh has already decayed, gone corrupt, and has no use anymore. Hermes and his horse show their naked selves in an act of provocation; your body will do you no good anymore beyond this point. The jacket and top hat may be used to further press this point of provocation; he looks rather silly with his top hat doesn’t he? To him it is all a joke, all those nice clothes you have bought over your lifetime, it doesn’t matter to him (it does to Hermes-the-company ;)). In a way, he is both mocking life and death, but perhaps mostly death since it is associated with our earthly lives while life will get a new definition in the World of Lights (more on that later).

    The middle part of the H is blocked by the horse and horseman.This makes the H turn into I I which could be representing the two pillars of Hermes (here a reference to the Egyptian God Thoth). This then confirms we should see this horseman as Hermes in the role of Thoth. These pillars tell us that we are on the doorstep of another world, a world in which we can acquire secret knowledge and live a whole new life.

    This new life is wholly immaterial, as said before, consisting solely of our souls, which are usually said to be made of (immaterial) pure light. God is the Light of Lights and His Angels are the Lights we see at night in the sky; the planets and the stars. This is why Hermes is surrounded by stars; this will be our new abode and we will be like the Angels, becoming stars ourselves.

    All around the scarf we see shackles and chains. They represent two things. First, they symbolize the chain of life, of which we all are part. Second, they symbolize that our luminous souls are chained to this world and imprisoned in our bodies. Matter/Darkness stands for everything that is bad and evil in this universe, while Light is good and pure and it is our life goal to escape to that World of Light. We are trapped in this Dark World of Matter, but fortunately only for a little while, after which we can spread our wings and fly away.

    This is most boldly displayed by the chain going around the center, which at the top is very visibly broken. The sparkles coming off the broken chain shows this is a major event. The Horn above it is actually a symbol of the Last Day (Day of Judgment) but here perhaps it merely indicates our escape from the material world. The title itself, “C’est la fête” (meaning “party time!”) could also be a pointer to the greatness of the event of our death; our death is something to celebrate, one of the best thing that will happen to you!

    We have now dealt with the major elements of the scarf and will move on to point to some details. Bottom-left and top-right we see one horse carrying a piece which is made up of horse gear but which has the appearance of a sun or star. There is little to say about this as far as I know. The pieces on the top-left and bottom-right are more interesting. They each feature two horses around a horse shoe. On one horse shoe it says ‘creativité’ (creativity) the other says ‘loyauté’ (loyalty). The place of the horses symbolize they are defending the horse shoes. In line with the above interpretation we would have to say that creativity and loyalty (or, faithfulness) are the two qualities we should strive for. In that case, we better read loyalty as faithfulness or even piety. But perhaps here it actually represents the two core values of Hermes-the-company; always pursuing creativity in their products, and maintaining loyalty from their customers.

    The last details are at the bottom in the middle. We may notice the two amulets with skulls with rays behind them. They affirm our interpretation that we will shed our flesh and become like a star. Last but not least we should point to the logo of the company, the horse with cart. Only this time it is a cart without horse! The symbolism is easy to see in light of the above; the horse stands for the soul and the cart stands for the body. At death, we leave our bodies (the cart) behind and they will then just stay there useless. Our soul (the horse) however will go to another place much more luminous and enjoyable.

    With this scarf, we can already in this life dream about that other place where we will one day go to, with the help of Hermes...

    Please do post your pictures, stories, opinions on C'est la fête ! Thanks for reading!
  2. Very interesting. Lots of symbols/symbolism I hadn't noticed. Thanks for taking the time to research and post.
  3. #3 Oct 10, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
    Very interesting... thank you for taking the time to share!
    The Caduceus of Hermes is usually winged and in cest le fete it isn't, I wonder why?
    The Rod of Asclepius comes to mind because it has no wings but it only has one snake.
    So I wonder the intent, is it intentional or an overlooked detail?
  4. Great post YepYep -much appreciated and VERY interesting and fascinating:flowers:

    I note the scarf is a 70cm and can someone confirm it is in the Men's Dept I haven't seen it anywhere?
  5. WOW! Thank you!

  6. Yes the scarf is a 70cm from the men's collection.
    In fact the item reference number has a T in it (and not S like women's scarves and shawls.)
    My SA here in Italy said it should be in the shops around the middle of November.
  7. Yes, I agree with Spicegirl. 70cm Men's collection. Arriving soon in North America (perhaps it has in some locations).
  8. Fascinating explanation.
  9. Very interesting!
  10. Great thank you Spicegirl:flowers:
  11. Thank you YepYep for such interesting reading! Good work!
  12. I want one! Now if I lived in Europe...
  13. Wow - I loved reading your interpretation of the scarf design. Very special :flowers:
  14. Thanks YepYep :flowers:
  15. Awesome post! Thank you YepYep!