Thursday 27th February

| BY Claudia Croft

Hermès: Ready-to-wear AW20

Horsey references are never far away at Hermès. In the show space, a figure-of-eight dressage configuration catwalk was marked by a forest of brightly coloured upended showjumping poles (which coincidentally echo the packaging on newly launched Hermès lipsticks). The collection riffed on horsey staples like blanket coats, jockey silk shirts and primary coloured polo shirt dresses, worn over printed silk skirts and high boots. Designer, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski also cited Jean Charles de Castelbajac as a touchstone not only for the pop of primary colour in the collection but also the joyful mood.

Optimism isn’t something luxury houses often telegraph with their shows, but Hermès, for all its haute heritage, prefers quirk, wit and warmth to sterile luxury. Nostalgia for the bygone chic of a bourgeois heyday is a theme here in Paris, but Hermès, the most bourgeois house of all, doesn’t indulge the notion. It practices the mindful notion of being present in the 2020 moment. That means celebrating hand craft (those pleated leather skirts were actually made from individual strips of leather and jersey stitched together) but using it to enhance an aesthetic that speaks to today. There were quilted leather bikers layered up and worn with midi skirts, polo neck bodies with holes at the throat to thread your Hermes scarf through and fantastic leather and cotton dungarees worn with thick-soles creepers. Modern life? Hermès makes it look easy.


Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans.