Hermes Ready To Wear Fall Winter 2011 Paris

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Hermes Ready To Wear Fall Winter 2011 Paris

The oasis in the storm. Cutting to the chase, Hermès just has a different character to the other luxury brands. It doesn’t attract custom by ceaselessly shoveling cash into the huge, arguably exhausting, arguably irritating engine of the modern caste system - celebrities - but rather invites artists to collaborate on scarves, hosts cultural exhibitions and the Saute Hermès, an international horse-jumping event at Le Grand Palais. The brand is also looking into ways of making aspects of production more eco-friendly.

The core of Hermès clothing lies in the hides and materials it uses. Its craftsmen choose from the cream of the world’s hides (what it discards then goes to other brands) and its silks are of the highest grade. From conception of the design to screen testing colours, a Hermès scarf can take two years to realise. Everything else that Hermès produces follows suit. In short, people don’t buy Hermès because they’re willing participants in a newfangled, nonsense tax on lack of success or self confidence but simply because they’re treating themselves or others who are dear to them.

So not only was it was exciting to see the first collection by new creative director Christophe Lemaire finally unveiled (hurrah!) but also a relief that he didn’t drop the ball. Over forty-three looks Lemaire presented a collection that successfully blended minimalism and casual elegance with subtle elements from sportswear. In essence he designed clothes that allowed the textures of the materials to really speak, you just wanted to touch the quality of the garments.

For fans of the classic Hermès print dress, one appeared underneath an ankle-grazing cape and with pockets placed just under the hip giving ease to hands wanting to nestle in the silk. Likewise, a loose, leather trimmed mac had a skinny chord that tied just below the waist also allowing hands to naturally find pockets. The silhouette is serene.

Trousers were slim cut or large cigar shapes. Lots of jackets and tops had hoods. An interesting low, L-heel shoe was proposed. Everything, be it casual daywear, smarter business wear or outfits for week-end trips away just had an incredibly calming, zen quality to it. The looks felt current but also that they’d never go out of style, come what may. So yes, let’s be calm, let’s envelope ourselves in a bit of cashmere made by Hermès and face the world with a stolen moment of inner peace.

Soundtrack: Chinese composer and musician Wu Fei performed live on a guzheng zither.