Jessica Craig-Martin's Horse Play

The Photographer Descends Upon the Grand Palais for the Saut Hermès

This April, high-society photographer Jessica Craig-Martin traded highballs for halters, casting her mischievous eye on the equestrian event Saut Hermès exclusively for NOWNESS. Craig-Martin developed her idiosyncratic, from-the-hip style as a party correspondent for Vogue, surreptitiously shooting the waistlines and ankles of the great and good while on assignment to produce her characteristically irreverent, humorous images, which have been exhibited at PS1 Moma, New York and were recently compiled for her 2009 book Privilege. The Saut Hermès, a Grand Prix-level show-jumping competition, is the first such event to take place in Paris’s famed Grand Palais in over 50 years, and the latest in a series of initiatives by Hermès to champion horse sport. Such events are of course synonymous with the luxury powerhouse, given its roots as a prestige harness and saddle maker, established in Paris in 1837. The Saut Hermès took place over Easter weekend and consisted of two rounds of jumping each day, with appearances from top riders, including Ireland’s Jessica Kürten and the UK’s Ellen Whitaker, punctuated by theatrical set-pieces with horses trained by the legendary Bartabas. Former Olympian Michel Robert was brought in as technical director of the event. “My relationship with the brand started when I was 18,” Robert explains. “I used to ride in an Hermès saddle and have always been full of admiration for their craftsmanship.” Hermès is now set to mount the Saut annually, and has further shown its commitment to the sport by launching a revolutionary lightweight saddle, the Talaris.
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