Hermès: Discreet luxury with poise

Paris haute couture opened Monday morning, but the preceding Sunday night is always reserved for a fashion intermission between the end of the menswear season and the start of couture – it is called the Hermès pre-collection show.


Hermès - pre-collection Autumn/Winter 2019 - Photo: Cédric Bihr

 
The show is traditionally staged on the second floor of house’s Faubourg Saint-Honoré flagship, with barely 200 people in attendance – principally editors in Paris for the season, along with the odd occasional movie star, such as Rosamund Pike. 
 
This season, the show was staged under especially tight security, with a score of CRS, the French national police, milling around outside. Albeit their presence was due to the store’s proximity to the Champs Elysées, which the paramilitary police were guarding against 'yellow vest' protestors.
 
The pre-coll is of course, the early stages and the ultimately the more commercial ideas of the collection which Hermès womenswear designer Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski will fully unveil during Paris ready-to-wear in six weeks time. But given Hermès' importance as an advertiser and reputation as the nec plus ultra of French luxury labels few people pass up an invitation to this show.


Hermès - pre-collection Autumn/Winter 2019 - Photo: Cédric Bihr

 
Nor should they have this weekend, as Vanhee-Cybulski presented a charming display of unfussy, patrician and very posh chic.
 
Her finest moments were flawlessly cut suede dresses in steely grays and bitter yellows; the Gattaca-like uber clean minimalist biker jackets and a stunning lambskin duster - all trimmed with the rounded studded hardware that this designer loves. And, in an equestrian house, the perfect plum fine wool dress with horsey buckles and a half-saddle shoulder. Plus her handkerchief dresses in silk printed with equine images were beautiful. Worn with diamond and gold bracelets, some costing over $100,000, this was as polished a statement of investment dressing as one could imagine.  These Hermès pre-colls may lack fireworks, but if you really want to know how the other half lives; not the oligarch, tax-dodging one percent, but the quiet establishment, then witness this pre-coll show. That simple.

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