PARIS, France — Don't get me wrong: Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, the artistic director of women's ready to wear at Hermès, is a hard worker. You can see this in how painstakingly designed and richly detailed her pieces are. Yet, despite all the work, and all that wonderful Hermès workmanship, her collections are a tricky proposition — at least on the catwalk.
Put simply, they lack a strong point of view. It's all there — the supple leathers, the marvelous silks, the prints and the understatement — but everything looks dangerously average for a brand like Hermès. Confused, too, as Vanhee-Chybulski tells so many different stories in each collection.
She did it again today. There were beautiful colors and some lovely tailoring — short and long jackets in Technicolor checks — but also some seriously ill-fitting pants as well as printed silk dresses, caftans, a couple of ponchos, sporty blousons and beautiful shirts. You name it, you have it, from equestrian to slightly ethnic. Not everything, but almost, while nothing on the runway actually answered the core question: What does Hermès mean today? It should stand for excellence, married with timeless elegance. But bringing that to life requires a stronger focus.