Hermès illustrates an aspirational wardrobe for those who bask in the life of wealthy summer sporting.
Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski projected a sporty and summery sophistication collection for Hermès with a refreshing departure from “athleisure”. Instead it focused on classy minimalism with utilitarian elements showcasing clean, and linear silhouettes; elements Vanhee-Cybulski clearly have a forte for.
Before she joined Hermès five years ago, she honed her skills as design director at the Olsen twins’ brand, The Row, and also worked at Céline and Maison Martin Margiela previously. It’s fitting to say that her articulation of discreet elegance was really exemplified with her role as artistic director at Hermès.
Vanhee-Cybulski, who is also the first women’s ready-to-wear artistic director in 20 years, reintroduced elements of femininity (and sexiness), Hermès was somewhat lacking under her predecessor Christophe Lemaire. Interestingly, her collections evoke Lemaire’s ascetic imprints and former Hermès artistic director Jean Paul Gaultier’s risqué antics but, this is not the case of merging the past and the present. Vanhee-Cybulski is making her mark in the fashion world, on her own terms.
For Spring/Summer 2019, she exercised her flair in the art of effortless chic. Sailor tops and dresses with rope detailing in spring’s trending neutrals opened the show. There were a several versions of oversized outerwear in pops of bright colours, one in particular, swathed in the brand’s signature orange, and trimmed in tanned leather. Hands down, one of the collection’s trophy pieces.
When Lemaire succeeded Gaultier’s position in 2010, it was clear that Hermès was finally taking a more commercial approach to its ready-to-wear collection. And while Lemaire did do the job, Vanhee-Cybulski’s trump card was her ability to evoke a sense of desirability by pushing the design envelope and finding a balance between creativity and commercialism.
Case in point: Grid leather mini dresses with front-zip detailing and tight sporty tank tops that resembled swimsuits (worn with woven leather skirts). There was also a wide selection of cable knitted cropped tops that portrayed a youthful elegance when styled the Hermès way. Paired with trousers, worn under an oversized utilitarian jacket or with that winning leather skirt overalls, Vanhee-Cybulski’s imagined the many different ways an aristocrat’s daughter (and her mother) would wear it at the summer regatta.
Flying high with a cohesive ready-to-wear collection, Vanhee-Cybulski did not disappoint in the accessories department. The winning bags include the new leather buckets and the brand’s Verrou handbags that were styled with wide camera straps. Also spotted? The ever popular Herbag this time in leather and one version is bright scarlet (take it from us, and get on that pre-order list pronto). As for shoes, Vanhee-Cybulski showed that the only way to set sail in luxury is with a pair of slightly chunky gladiator sandals.
All images courtesy of Hermès.