fashion with freedom, immersed in nature
Oct 2, 2023
At Hermès, the atmosphere was part rural escapade and part jungle safari: the label’s Paris Fashion Week show featured a soundtrack of birdsong and, as a setting, a vast labyrinth meandering amidst tall grass, sun-dried lucerne and other flowers. Nature’s appeal is still strong, and is one of the signature trends for Spring/Summer 2024. Parisian luxury label Hermès is exploiting all the more naturally this furrow, given it has always had a connection with the outdoors.
Hermès celebrated a day in the countryside with its Paris Fashion Week runway show on Saturday. The models stepped out into a huge meadow, light-hearted in their poplin shirt-dresses and short jackets, wearing flat sandals “to be in contact with nature, with water, wind and air, feeling the ground as they walk thanks to their form-fitting soles,” said Creative Director Nadège Vanhée-Cybulski.
Hermès women are elegant in all occasions, with their impeccably cut garments in the most sophisticated materials, and can choose among a range of outfits that are both lightweight and solid, protective without being encumbering. A streamlined overcoat made of cashmere and silk, or a flowing trench coat in glossy lambskin, were matched with a simple pair of shorts, a silk-ribbed knitted miniskirt, or a classic pencil skirt in a perforated fabric.
Vanhée-Cybulski was very keen on the picnic theme, even “[a picnic] one can do in one’s own garden,” she said backstage. She used a check picnic tablecloth motif for some long apron dresses in cotton organdie, while the small strapped dresses in perforated, lace-like leather were a nod to white table napkins. There were also “summer linen, shorts, ultra-lightweight jackets, and soft, free-flowing jacket-and-trouser sets,” said Vanhée-Cybulski.
Her fashion is both simple and sophisticated, playing on “the ambivalence between strength and seduction, between power and femininity,” she added. The collection consisted of a vibrant blend of sophisticated items and sportswear-inspired ones, like body suits, tank tops with wide armholes and notably bras, in all sorts of versatile shapes: racerback and t-neck models, and bandeau bras coming down to the waist, or worn diagonally.
The wardrobe was a clever mix of boleros, designed as simple, cropped little dresses, adaptable bras, overshirts, flowing coats and sleeveless gilet-coats. As well as tight leather outfits with a knitted base worn close to the skin, making the leather look like stretch material.
“These outfits are designed to accompany us through all that life throws at us, and can be matched to suit all body morphologies thanks to their modular components. Clothes that can be worn loose or tight, at home, on a trip or holiday. The idea is to let women choose, so that they can own their style,” said Vanhée-Cybulski.
This season, like last winter, the designer was very keen on the colour red, which she featured extensively in her summer collection, though she used darker, warmer, almost autumnal hues. Like maroon, plum, shades that veered towards chocolate brown, and ‘Rouge H’, a darker red with a hint of brown, almost burgundy, Hermès’s signature colour. Towards the end of the show, the palette burst out in a series of bright red outfits, in poppy red, garnet and scarlet.
“Red usually has rather negative connotations. I wanted to focus again on its aesthetic, symbolic meaning of strength, beauty and passion,” said Vanhée-Cybulski.
The show was a success, and it even featured the intrusion, amidst the models on the runway, of a PETA activist brandishing a poster demanding that Hermès stop using exotic skins, who was then challenged by a member of staff. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has been asking Hermès for many years to stop using crocodile skin for its handbags.
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