His-and-Her Hermès Accessories You Can Wear This Season.
With a 183-year long history, Hermès has a rich and unique heritage from which its creative team draws from. And its two creative directors, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski (womenswear) and Véronique Nichanian (menswear) are certainly familiar with the traditions and core values of the French house. Vanhee-Cybulski joined in 2014, while Nichanian holds the current title for being the longest serving non-founding artistic director for a luxury French house (the other was the late Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel) — 31 years.
Each season, creative director Véronique Nichania perpetuates the savoir faire of Hermès with the sole purpose of raising the consummate bar for the brand’s Men’s Universe. There’s never been a need for bells and whistles or fancy storyboards — the icing on the cake remains the proficiency of the Hermès ateliers and its artisans.
Nichanian always starts at the drawing board reflecting on what clothes and accessories should mean for its wearer. Its form, functions, luxury quotient — each of these elements has to serve an innate purpose because they are core to the brand’s sensibilities. The first look on the runway this season saw a roomy coat with handy pockets. Fashioned out of leather, the coat was trimmed with a ribbed knit collar and patterned in a style that would deem it as heavy outerwear; and yet, it looks — and probably is — lightweight when worn. The trousers were semi-loose and pleated at the ankles with cinching straps and minimal but sensible accessories: a belt and card holder attached to a ring on a neck strap. The card holder (from the Dragonne range) is sold separately from the neck strap and for a very good reason: You can detach it. Or better, you can add to it.
Another thoughtful and very covetable accessory is the Second Side bag in Togo calfskin. Paired with suits or worn under jackets, this flat bag wasn’t designed to hold the kitchen sink and all sundry. Its style is to remain as “collapsed” as it looks. Fill it up with only the bare necessities and its form should snuggle flushed against the body as if it were part of the outfit.
With the women’s categories, French artistic director Vanhee-Cybulski has repeatedly returned to the maison’s equestrian roots. But the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Antwerp) alumnus does not rely exclusively on horse-riding themes to form the backbone of her collections. Vanhee-Cybulski’s aesthetics are that of a purist but she has always also brought little quirks and curiosities to the Hermès table (or should we also say stable?).
One of Vanhee-Cybulski’s surprises this season was her artful yet restrained use of rich primary colours, much in the spirit of the Bauhaus palette. This saw expression, for instance, in a multicolour dress that looked strikingly handsome rather than tacky.
Vanhee-Cybulski’s take on moderation is never contrived; her minimalist designs pack in astute and expensive looking details as much as it does sartorial purpose. From leather pieces so weightless and fabric-like in appearance to finely-spun knit tops that were so artfully and thoughtfully constructed to include a collar loop for holding a scarf in place without actually having to tie it (oh, yes!); the style verdicts reads: Stealth over wealth; austerity over vulgarity.
The bags Vanhee-Cybulski showed on the runway were fuss-free, far from anything too flashy and dare we say, totes compact. The Della Cavalleria bag boasted all the qualities a girl who loves her Constance purse (and prized filly) might seek. Crafted with the deftness required in saddlery, the bag is decorated with a silver clasp shaped like a horse bridle. Elsewhere, there were a series of thick-strap wristlet bags that mimicked the brand’s iconic Clochette — with the lock-and-key/lanyard attachment found on most of its premium bags. A little lavish and yet a tad flippant, this daytime style is arguably the collection’s most youthful and key (pun intended) piece that’s suitable for every age.
Images courtesy of Hermès, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.