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Hermès Horses Around in Le Grand Palais

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Paris’ Grand Palais may be synonymous with Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel spectacles, but—little-known fact—one of the venue’s original purposes was to showcase the equestrian arts. This past weekend, Hermès and some four-legged friends gave the Kaiser a run for his money by doing just that. The storied house hosted its fourth annual Saut Hermès—a top-level, gasp-inducing show-jumping competition with about $600,000 in prize money up for grabs.

Hermès used the occasion to officially launch its Cavale saddle—an advanced design crafted collaboratively between artisan, rider, and veterinarian. Hermès, which was once as well known for its horse gear as its Birkins and Kellys, aims to regain its footing as the premiere source for professional show-jumping equipment. “It is my dream for Hermès to become top of mind to riders worldwide,” said Marion Bardet, director of the label’s equestrian program. It would seem that the brand is well on its way. In addition to saddles, Hermès also offers an equestrian apparel line. Tasked with designing the uniforms for France’s show-jumping team at the London 2012 Olympics, the house seeks to combine practical elements with its famed artistry. “Their clothes are obviously beautiful, but technical as well,” said Nick Dello Joio, one of a select few brand-sponsored riders. “I use everything Hermès.”

Photos: Eric Feferberg/ Getty images (competition); Courtesy of Hermès (saddle)

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Dept. of Culture