The world’s most expensive scarf costs $4.8 million

This Henri Matisse-designed Ascher scarf sold for $4.8 million. Photo courtesy of Vogue UK.
This Henri Matisse-designed Ascher scarf sold for $4.8 million. Photo courtesy of Vogue UK.

We've always thought Hermes scarves were expensive, but one scarf has just sold at auction for $4.8 million at Christie's in London. Why was this Ascher scarf deemed so much more valuable than others? It was designed by the famous artist Henri Matisse.

Vogue UK reports that Zika Ascher, the label's founder, went to Paris in 1946 to get several artists like Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore on board to create scarf designs. Matisse's print, called Oceanie, features abstract sea creatures the artist recalled from his 1940 trip to Tahiti. The print was produced in a limited run of 30 scarves, but the original was a large scale design that hung in the artist's studio.

Sam Ascher, the creative director of the brand and grandson of Zika Ascher spoke with Vogue UK about the sale. "I think this result speaks to the originality of the Ascher Artist Squares project, and of course to the genius of Matisse," Ascher told Vogue UK. "It makes me very proud that the concept and the collaborations originated by my grandfather are still treasured today. The line between fashion and art is a question of continual and endless debate, however in this case I think there is little room for argument. The original project achieved its success by remaining devoid of commercialism, if we can achieve a fraction of this success in the collaborations we are currently planning we will be extremely happy."

Suddenly those $430 Hermes scarves are not sounding so bad! (As Refinery 29 points out, you could buy 11,000 of them for $4.8 million.) Other vintage Ascher collaborations-such as those from Dior and Balenciaga in the 1960s-have been slightly redesigned and released again this year and are infinitely more affordable than this Matisse original. See Vogue UK for more info.

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