Trust Hermès to transport the fashion cognoscenti to sand dunes for a post-desert hike rave. For Spring Summer 23, creative director Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski had utilitarian chic on her mind. Think hikes outdoors, desert sunsets and sunny dresses embodying freewheeling weightlessness. All in all, a summer closet grounded in contemporary intuition. Transportable and ergonomic, each ensemble, separate and accessory embraced the culture of contemporary living through its luxe utility.
While the brand has always been synonymous with luxury travels, the all-pervading phenomenon of post pandemic revenge travel can’t be overlooked. According to the show notes, “A rave in the desert. The sound radiating from behind the hill follows the drift of the dawn: she’s never felt anything so beautiful. It spreads in layers. It’s enough to draw close to this magic mountain for the air to be suffused with a singular power. This wasn’t the only transformation: the colors emanating from the landscape came alive and began to move, to shimmer – sunbaked red, sulfur yellow – as though liquefied.”
What do you pack when you head to a wilderness retreat maybe in Patagonia, Kenya or Alaska? Perhaps some sturdy utility gear, which doesn’t compromise on the glam appeal. Vanhee-Cybulski kicked off the Hermès show with some very covetable leather jumpsuits and windbreakers in toasty desert hues like sandy beige, earthy tans and sunset orange. While most of these pieces may not come across as functional for the outdoors, there was no denying the French savoir-faire which went in crafting them. For instance, a chic raincoat realised in technical fabric had a breathable mesh inner layering and a poncho came artfully engineered in buttery leather. Inspired by the climbing rope gear, there were charming details like the elastic cording, which lent gravitas to a litany of retina-drenching, intensely-hued summer dresses.
The highpoint was definitely a clever extrapolation of leather – the beating heart of Hermès. The show opened with a two-piece in nomad-beige smooth calfskin composed of an overshirt and a pair of sports trousers with ring and toggle fastening in rubber. A mouthwatering invitation to play dress up! Styled with a necklace in gold Swift calfskin and palladium-finish metal and accessorised with an Arçon bag in fawn Barénia Faubourg calfskin and Barénia calfskin – this glam-leisure look instantly evoked carefree summer holidays spent sipping gin and juice in virgin resorts. Also, there was a clever push on tone-on-tone summer layering techniques. For instance, a light trench coat was layered over a racerback jumper in silk knit and a leathercraft gilet in fawn Barénia calfskin. In a nutshell, a panoply of easy breezy separates, which can be effortlessly mixed and matched depending on one’s mood and outing.
Moreover, some ensembles emitted high-octane shine thanks to the atelier’s masterful surface texturing. For example, a dress in silk georgette was embroidered with black graduated sequins in black lambskin with straps in black cord. The closing look, which was a short cape dress in white silk knit, was embroidered with Le Rêve de Julia motifs in glass bugle beads. Glossy, textured yet minimal and polished.
There was ample textural drama on bags too. It was hard to overlook the luscious and tactile pink ostrich feathers, which accented a Toupet Folie’s bag in nasturtium-orange. A Kelly Élan Folie’s clutch in black too featured lush ostrich plumage. According to the shownotes, “ A bivouac, a dance, and everywhere this feeling of immensity – the very same that a philosopher who didn’t deny magic once called the Californian enchantment…”
This sublime emotion easily resonated with the collection’s sophisticated silhouettes expressing a culture of appearance and practicality. Embodying the contemporary insights of versatility and functionality, Hermès presented a softer and whimsical take on its luxe staples – sensual yet sublime, sturdy yet supple.
From HT Brunch, October 8, 2022
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