How the Hermès Blanket Became a Classic Home Staple
In 1980, Lisa Birnbach's The Official Preppy Handbook gave the definitive spin on achieving the classic, conservative WASP-y lifestyle (albeit, a tongue-in-chic one). When it debuted in 1988, the Hermès Avalon blanket instantly became a design darling that, much like the must-haves mentioned in Birnbach's guide, became a home staple for the fashionable. The blanket was a symbol of the good taste and distinguished upbringings lauded in her semi-serious tome. Hermès is the epitome of French class and refinement, not to mention savoir-faire. Below, Nest Casa takes a look at this popular home textile treasure.
History of the Hermès Blanket
When the French luxury blanket introduced the popular throw blanket in 1988, it was referred to by adorers as the “Birkin of the home.” Only, instead of it draping across a well-to-do arm, it was generally found accessorizing a well-to-do home. The design referenced a classic stable blanket used for covering horses. The original version of the blanket was made in Scotland from 90-percent Merino wool and 10-percent cashmere. Today, the blanket starts at $1,300. Like many Hermès items, it’s value increases over time (even relative to inflation). For comparison, Birkin bags in the early 2000s cost around $4,000 and, now, the entry price is generally just under $10,000.
In 2017, Hermès introduced a full cashmere model made in Nepal. This new blanket is 100-percent Mongolian cashmere and made by skilled local artisans. Despite the softer fibers, the blanket possesses the weight of the original style in its four-by-five-foot size. The threads are handwoven in a Kathmandu workshop and subject to a multi-stage dyeing process that produces deeply intense color saturation. The edges of this style reflect the Hermès equestrian culture with the brand’s "horse” stitch (also known as whipstitching) that encircles the blanket. Its price is not for the faint of heart: this style starts around $3,000 and can head upward of $4,700.
How To Style a Hermès Blanket
One reason for the Avalon's popularity is the checkerboard effect it creates when fully folded. It creates a four-square pattern with two Hs in opposing corners. When opened to the full size, the blanket reveals that its four corners feature contrasting Hs. Thus, folded or fully open, the blanket reveals the iconic H in a variety of ways. The blanket comes in a wool throw pillow, too. For a luxe, over-the-top look, try combining the two in contrasting colors.
The Hermès blanket is generally used like any other throw blanket. It can be placed open or folded at the end of a bed. It can also be folded the long way and draped over a chair or a couch. In the image shown here, the blanket in classic orange sits proudly at the foot of a chaise lounge. Wooden towel ladders also work well for displaying a series of throw blankets. Because there is also a Hermès Avalon baby blanket, nurseries are also popular spots for these luxury items—either draped over the crib's edge or on a rung of a stool. Better still, it can be laid over the back of a rocking chair.
Where to Source a Hermès Blanket
With a significant price tag and the prestige of an authentic Hermès blanket, it's essential to make sure you are purchasing the real deal. Of course, going directly to Hermès is always the safest bet. But if you are seeking a model not currently in production, high-end resale sites like 1stdibs and TheRealReal are viable options. (Full disclosure: In the past, TheRealReal has had some authentication issues with other brands.) Nest Casa has made the search a bit easier with our picks.