paris fashion week: hermès

(images via wwd)

even as i was utterly prepared to dislike his work, coming on the heels of opt’s beloved jean paul gaultier (see his a/w 2010 & s/s 2011 work for the house), and with helmut lang first offered the role of creative director, i must admit that over the seasons we’ve been covering him at paris fashion week (see s/s 2012, a/w 2012, s/s 2013), i really do believe creative director christophe lemaire is doing a good job chez hermès. yes, really!

i mean, not only do i appreciate the manner in which the designer has been re-building his vision of the brand with all sorts of global inflections, but there’s nothing i can say enough on the subject of how much i appreciate the fact he hasn’t tried to, like, elementary-ize the house, keeping his signature mark on cosmopolitan, womanly and sophisticated looks, that may be innovative in that they’ve got some various international flair, rather than that they’re trying to copy what the kids on the streets are up to.

and as i’ve often said, i think this is a good commercial move. instead of making us feel sad we’re growing old, it makes us excited for growing up! so anyway, on the critical front, starting off, the fashion spot announced that “(w)e’ve seen a ton of leather this season, but it’s a hard fabric to make look anything other than stiffly cumbersome (outerwear and pants aside); leave it to Hermes to make the most fluid leather tops and skirts. Complementing the leather pieces were loose silhouettes fashioned out of a mix of suede, cashmere and fur.”

“It was beautiful and controlled and put capes and blanket-coats top of next season’s agenda to provide enough of that intrepid traveller reference in a city-based modern world,” trilled uk vogue, agreeing wholly with me. “There were wraparound skirts of khaki and tan and pristine white shirts hidden beneath tuxedo jackets or capes that sat across the body and which buckled at the shoulder. Shaggy jackets were bohemian in the well-travelled sense and not over the top – nothing here was over the top, it was luxe, elegant and refined with a serenity to it all.”

and according to wwd, “(a)studied composition of leather, suede, fur and impeccable cashmere, the clothes epitomized timeless bourgeois chic. There was minimalist drama in the spare cuts and styling…While most of the pieces qualified as classics — the aviator jackets and plainly luxe tailored separates done in loden green, navy, black and light gray, and the strappy wrap heels — there were touches of great novelty, too, in blanket capes and a multicolored chunky knit vest. Either way, buy a piece and wear it now, or wear it 50 years from now.”

and elsewhere, the washington post reported that “(i)nitially, it felt like the beginning of an Hercule Poirot murder mystery. Models in the 38 looks in mainly gray, brown and black snaked in and out of the guests, who sat comfortably drinking old-school spritzers. As ever, Hermes is synonymous with luxury — and here, the textures and fabric quality were second to none, with full-grain leather, cashmeres, and sumptuous linens. There were great individual looks, like a super-stylish oversized gray double-breasted suit, with one collar up in a hint of dishabille.”

the designer, explained elle, “moved away from the Asian influences he so loves and the sporty references that are his roots and appeared to have drilled down into the roots of Hermes, the things that make it tick: a great trousersuit cut from the finest cashmere, a long black leather skirt, simple coats sometimes layered with cashmere over ponyskin, a really great pair of masculine pleat-front pants, a beautiful tan flying jacket, a thickly plaited knit, and for evening a slim-line tuxedo or a plain as plain can be long black dress with a slender panel of white from neck to shin.”

“the spirit of his collection this season felt guided by the spectral hand of the ultimate twisted Anglo, Alfred Hitchcock,” plotted style. “To be precise, Hitchcock’s Rebecca: Dark romance gone wrong. The setting for Lemaire’s show was the library of the Lycée Henri IV, and its wood-paneled walls were appropriate for the governess-y aspect of mid-calf skirts, high-waisted gray flannels, crisp white shirts, and mannish overthings. That mannishness harked back to Martin Margiela’s remarkable—and remarkably uncelebrated—moment under the auspices of Hermès.”

and us vogue meandered along that “Lemaire used ‘mysterious’ to describe the kind of woman he envisioned wearing his fall designs. ‘She could be Parisian, she could be from London, you don’t know,’ he said after his show. ‘I think the top of style is when you’re like, who is she, what’s her job, what’s her background. It’s about something subtle.’ In other words, should you encounter this international woman of mystery, you’d probably find yourself going up to her for a closer look at, and maybe tactile appreciation of, her exquisitely crafted and elegant caramel croc pencil skirt or perfectly tailored wool pants.”

and fashion week daily detailed how “(n)omadic glamazons stomped out in silk crème blouses tucked into high-waisted, leather midi skirts or relaxed trousers in varying shades of grey. Luxe coats came draped nonchalantly over shoulders leaving an air of covetability in their wake. In particular, the fur-collared cognac bomber was a unanimous smash hit. Ditto for the much buzzed about olive cape, which opened the show on a high note. As for accessories, Lemaire kept it light this season, save for a batch of leather belts, a handful of bracelets, and a couple casual, all-purpose handbags. A calculated study in chic from start to fini. ”

then, the telegraph announced that “(l)ooks particularly worth withdrawing from Hermes’ womenswear roster included an oversized mannish suit in the deepest, darkest green with one lapel worn pulled forward and a long, slim black dress cut upon from shoulder to ankle with a slashy sharp fold of white. This was not a shouty collection – a long sleeveless knit dress with nubbly stitches in red, white, blue and black plus some restrained silk print blouses were as razzy as it got – but it was compellingly enigmatic one.”

and–finally–there was suzy menkes of the iht: “The choice of place said it all: the library on the rooftop of an old Parisian school, where guests were greeted with a horse-blanket coat thrown over a chair and by velvet sofas on which to drink in the beauty of historic books. The show was equally about calm and lasting value, with its supple lambskin jacket or a pony skin outfit with the sheen of silk. How hard it is to produce clothes that are both of the moment but beyond fashion’s hurly burly. Although it looked so effortless, the designer must have worked to meld the textures of goatskin, lamb and what the notes described as ‘moiré calfskin.'”

(see the catwalk video here)

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