HERMES AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR PARIS FASHION WEEK

HERMES AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR PARIS FASHION WEEK

Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, the new artistic director of Hermès, acknowledged the inescapability of the label’s classics after her debut presentation today. “You have to work with leather,” she said. Then there’s the equestrian heritage and those iconic silk scarves. Vanhee-Cybulski wasn’t about to mess with any of it. As first encounters went, this was a respectful journey around the house, with enough wayward verve to suggest the relationship will be a happy one. The designer’s first look layered a “riding spirit” blouson in midnight blue leather with a quilted lining inspired by a saddle pad. Various combinations of those elements—spirit, skin, saddle pad—would reappear later, but, right off the bat, there was the sense of a fresh eye, even more so with the leather dungarees that followed. These were paired with a man’s shirt in white poplin and a white turtleneck. Next, a gorgeous trapeze coat, again in that dark leather.

The opening passage had a buttoned-up, sober rigor that revived memories of Martin Margiela’s tenure at Hermès, surely the benchmark for anyone who came after. The redingote silhouette and the Rocabar-striped blanket coats in midnight blue double-face cashmere brought the country into the city. But Vanhee-Cybulski used the famous silk in slightly less predictable ways: as a bandanna print on a man’s shirt in twill, as a panel on a leather skirt, or as a red silk jacquard of such intensity it might just scare the horses. A sweatshirt in “curaçao blue” mink suggested she’d already got a handle on the thing that Véronique Nichanian does so well with the men’s collection: materials of astonishing luxe turned to the most seductively casual ends.

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