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At Hermès, Freedom and Restraint

Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski presented a convincing collection that was very Hermès but a little fresher, with a frisson that was subtly erotic.
Source: Courtesy
By
  • Angelo Flaccavento

PARIS, France — There was something decidedly intriguing, delightfully yet subtly erotic to the Hermes show today. Both the clothes and the mise en scène toyed with ideas of see-through, I-see-I-see-not and shadow-play: peepholes, cut-outs, the layering of aprons and tank tops leaving generous slices of skin in view, all of this while the models kept meandering — all together, at once — through a set that, seen from my screen, looked like dunes installed within the Tennis Club de Paris (those cubist columns are unmistakable). You saw them, then you didn't, and even watching remotely, one felt close to the action.

It made for a very convincing outing: a collection that was very Hermès in the thoughtful simplicity of the lines, the unparalleled luxury of the materials and a sense of timelessness, and yet a little fresher — if not risqué, then certainly with a little frisson. Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski belongs to the troup of designers for whom lockdown seems to have had a positive effect. There was a lightness and a sense of purpose to the whole that was palpable, hinting at a direction which could be brought further forward in the future. Recommencer was one of the handwritten words repeated on the scrapbook sent to guests — I got one in the mail. And a sense of new beginning pervaded the endeavour.

All told, despite the skin flashing and the body peeping, the proceeding had a certain strictness, leaving you craving for, erm, a little more liberation, a new sense of freedom clearly being the theme here. This mix of liberty and restraint generated a fascinating tension. Erotic, again.

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