The many colors of Hermès
Always a telling sign how a brand uses a show-space. It speaks volumes about how exactly its leaders view their marque. That was very much the case on a steamy Monday afternoon at Hermès which presented a hyper refined collection inside the Palais de Chaillot.
Many great houses have chosen this location, with its Modernist grandeur and dazzling views though giant windows of the Eiffel Tower. However, to cite just one example, Giorgio Armani closed his back on the vista with a giant black box; Hermès built an ethereal, all-white space, muffling the view with light blinds and creating a checkerboard passage through which the guests had to pass like extras from THX1138. From a series of speakers a serious announcer read a monologue by Jarvis Cocker on the key colors of the house in an arty gesture.
Inside, an agreeable hush, since to heighten the air of languid tranquility, all runway photographers – a great group of people, but perhaps not the quietest of professions – were banished to another room entirely. Amid this spiritual setting, designer Nadège Vanhée-Cybulski presented a skilful collection of elongated refinement. Long apron cut coats in soft Scottish plaids; lovingly made butter-yellow micro mannish blazers; or precious Grand Manège print silk jersey shirts. She showed off the house’s resources with assurance – whether an ultra violet nubuck Eisenhower jacket that reeked of wealth or a knitted leather skirt that spoke volumes about the unique quality of the Hermès atelier. One could not fault the level of taste or the quality of any single look. Plus the accessories – most notably a new brilliant oblong steel heel shoe – were all impressive. Yet, while one understands that this house caters for the rich, the less of a sense that these clothes catered for the busy modern woman.
A collection that was very much in synch with the house’s DNA and image of itself, though not perhaps a little less in tune with how women live today.
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