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Petite H

petite h"Pascale Mussard, a member of the often eccentric Hermes clan," is creating luxury items out of the company’s rejected and broken wares, reports Christina Binkley in The Wall Street Journal (5/22/14). Pascale is a great-great-great granddaughter of founder Theirry Hermes and begin her "awfully strange recycling program," in secret, some four years ago. Disturbed "as she witnessed defective Hermes products being destroyed so they couldn’t be sold as seconds or on the black market," she hatched a plan.

Pascale started by smuggling "boxes of useful detritus out of the Hermes factory" and collaborating with jewelry designer Gilles Jonemann to create "100 prototypes, many of them whimsical." They made a lamp out of a broken teapot, for instance, and a "bookcase shaped like an angular squirrel" using "steel encased in Togo calfskin once destined for Hermes leather goods." Eventually, she went before her family to get approval to sell the items, telling them: "I have a project and you cannot say no."

It was perhaps not such a tough sell, given the irony that frugality is a central value of the Hermes family. Pascale says this comes from her mother, who grew up during World War II. "We saved everything," she says. Hermes artistic director Pierre-Alexis Dumas, also a family member, says the product line, marketed as Petite h, is "faithful to the artisan spirit of the house using exceptional discarded materials to create and reinvent beautiful objects full of fantasy which are unusual." And expensive: That squirrel bookcase sells for $112,400.