Who’d have thought that something as prosaic as a horse blanket could ever have attained the kind of status that the Avalon blanket has achieved? But the fact that the maker of this sturdy piece of stable kit is Hermès explains everything. The double-faced wool and cashmere blanket, with its signature “H” repeated pattern, is big enough for even the largest mare’s back but also does duty on sofa or bed; I’ve even seen one used as an ever-so-chic door curtain.
I was given my first Avalon blanket 10 years ago by an eccentric and extravagant – these blankets cost $1,125 – New Yorker as a “thank you” for a favour. I felt that the gift of the blanket far outweighed the value of the favour but it has kept the lines open for him to be able to call me at any time of the day or night for advice or help, which will always be willingly and enthusiastically given.
Over the years, the blanket has settled into everyday use on my sofa, adding a cushiony layer that prevents a moulting dog and the occasional spill from tarnishing the difficult-to-clean covers beneath. Now, the blanket’s original navy and cocoa colour scheme is flecked through with white dog hairs, ageing nicely in tandem with the other members of the family. It was joined several years ago by a new addition – in charcoal and white – and a very recent purchase in peach and gold. Quite when an expensive habit gains validity as a collection, I don’t know, but I have a feeling I’m about to find out.