ORANGE YOU GLAD: “Was it too early?” Hermès chief executive Patrick Thomas asked sheepishly before dawn on Thursday. After all, to announce its annual marketing theme for this year, “Beautiful Escape,” the French luxury brand asked some 300 editors and Hermès staffers to assemble at 5 a.m. for a surprise visit to Rungis, the sprawling wholesale food market on the outskirts of Paris that nourishes an estimated 12 million to 15 million people. Wearing white smocks, the fashion pack was eerily silent filing through the giant meat locker — where a young woman in a tuxedo tinkled a gleaming black grand piano — but woke up in the fragrant cheese hall when a mouse-headed waiter glided towards them on Rollerblades offering a tray of cubed cantal. The tour ended with gourmet samplings — from oysters to crepe suzette — while Hermès’ artistic director Pierre-Alexis Dumas led a crew of cyclists through the dining hall, capping off a quirky morning.
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