Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski succeeded in injecting some much-needed emotion into Hermes this season. The use of knitwear, herringbone harness wraps and cardigans worn in a slouchy style all promoted ease. This collection evoked the view of a woman living her life rather a static vision. Over the last few seasons, we have definitely seen the era that Margiela was at the house influence current collections. All well and good. However, this can become quite sterile if you are not the master himself. Without any game changing tropes to accompany the minimalism, it can all come off a bit cold. With the most famous, expensive – and in demand – ‘it bag’ ever, Hermes is the ultimate accessories house. But could this stalwart of Parisian quit pushing perfection, and become a design house again – rather than a merchandising backdrop for bags and shoes? This is of course what most houses are – in terms of business model - but Hermes is the most acute of case studies.
Some of Hermes’ success came this season via a loosening of the colour palette. The relief of adding sky blue to camel looks was like opening a window within the collection. Bourgeoisie homogeny, be gone! Peach sorbet outerwear, sharply cut with iced peppermint, felt surprisingly feminine. Whilst a shearling cape wrapped over the head looked a touch contrived, the addition of joyous sky blue gave it the air of the modern nonchalant.
Once the double-faced cashmere arrived in the palest of dove greys things started to feel a bit android untouchable. A wonderful last section had some incredible Halston-esque dresses in tangerine. The section before that – in all honesty - felt like a show room walk through. The epitome of classic Parisian chic, it was all ridiculously expensive looking - but perhaps creatively uninteresting.
However, with an increased handling on tactility and colour this season, more personality was present overall. If one is showing on the Parisian schedule, it has to be about creativity and emotion - even if you’re the impenetrable Hermès.