Nantucket and Hermes: Perfect Together

This past weekend, we braved thunderstorms and Cape traffic to catch the ferry and support a great cause.

Ah, Nantucket. You’re beautiful, you’re ancient, and you’re now very, very rich. But we’re willing to forgive the onslaught of outsize SUVs and McMansions when we have the opportunity to celebrate the still family-owned saddle maker, Hermès, and raise money for something terrific.

Which is how we ended up on island last Friday night–barefoot–in the living room of Kay Bernon. Gracious Kay opened her home to friends and family (at $150 apiece), with help from Boston-based Hermès store manager John Nargi, to raise funds for the Berkshire Hills Music Academy, a school she founded in 1999. Located in South Hadley, the school offers residential programs for young, intellectually challenged adults. Music training is at the core of the program’s philosophy–as students learn how to play with others and perform in front of an audience, they gain independence, confidence, and focus.

A merry quartet of BHMA students delighted the distinguished guests (including the absolutely enchanting Joe Kennedy III who shook our hands and stole away to catch the ferry back to Hyannis, Pats owner Bob Kraft, wife of Celtics part-owner Kim Pallotta, and Boston attorney Bob Crowe) throughout the night. On the porch, an Hermès pop-up shop offered signature scarves, bangles, and bags–keeping the credit card machine humming. Meanwhile, models demonstrated the many clever ways one could wear scarves as guests dined on raw Vineyard cherrystones, caviar on tiny crepes, champagne, and sorbet. Also at hand were elegant summer residents sporting their own new and vintage Hermès attire and Peter Malachi, from Hermès’s New York office.

Though the rain was relentless, we savored the view from Kay’s living room sofa looking back toward Cape Cod. The height of the evening, however, was a pan pipe performance by BHMA student Etienne (third from left), a Peruvian who was adopted by a Cambridge woman at the age of 3 months. Though he had intellectual disabilities, he demonstrated an aptitude for music very early on. As his adoptive mother spoke about their journey together, he grinned at the audience sweetly. When she was done, not an eye was dry.

A limited edition of the iconic “Quintessence” scarf was re-issued for the occasion.

At the end of the evening, we picked up our tiny Hermès goodie bag–packed with fragrances and a set of scarf-tying cue cards–found our flip flops among the Manolos, and discovered that not one, but both of our umbrellas had been pilfered from the front door. Alas.

We wish Kay, Hermes, and BMHA the best of luck, and hope that whoever absconded with our umbrellas at least had the good sense to make a sizable donation to this incredibly worthy cause.