Hermès S/S 2019 Paris Fashion Week Women’s

Hermès S/S 2019 Paris Fashion Week Women’s

Scene setting: The Hippodrome de Longchamp might not count as one of Paris’ usual tourist attractions, but (if you have the time and the patience to sit around in the Parisian traffic as you make your way towards the edge of the 16th arrondissement) it’s worth it. In the heart of the Bois de Boulogne you will find an imposing building in gilded metal leading to the racetrack. That’s where Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski chose to show her latest outing for Hermès. But, contrary to what one might expect, it was not all about the equestrian world. ‘It’s about the horizon, along the edge between two worlds, between sky and land’, explained the designer in the press release. Indeed, a colossal slanted mirror reflected the blue sky and a few passing clouds, while the catwalk was covered in pale sand. ‘And what’s between those two things is the sea?’ the designer continued. ‘This time, we chose sailing’.

Mood board: At first glance, the ocean might have seemed an unlikely inspiration for a house better known for its equestrian influences but, as the designer explained, it all stemmed from a word-play between the terms ‘sailor’ and ‘saddler’. And the clothes were the visual rendering of that idea. The show’s soundtrack may have been a cacophony of sounds composed over Mozart’s melancholy Piano Concerto No.23, but the collection was laser-focused: groom’s aprons were reworked into summer dresses, tied with sailor’s ropes. Vareuse shirts were reimagined in extra soft leather, and sturdy fisherman’s coats found new proportions, taking on the unmistakeable shade of Hermès orange. The idea was to transpose the often masculine inspiration of workwear into the feminine wardrobe. Or, As Vanhee-Cybulski put it, ‘what if Lord Jim had been a Lady, or Penelope a man and Ulysses his wife?’

Finshing touches: The minimalist charm of the collection made the accessories stand out more than usual. Models were clad in Greek-inspired flat sandals – not one high heel in sight – which looked extra-covetable, and carried some of the maison’s classic bags, plus one new addition: the Musardine, a big bucket bag with leather piping inspired by rustic horse-feeders. Which goes to show that, just like Ulysses, Vanhee-Cybulski knows how to find her way back home no matter what adventure she embarks on. §

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