Calm and Collected Nadege Vanhee-Cybulski unleashes creativity and classic in just the right amount in her collection for Hermés
Fashion is full of drama (and drama queens, kings, princes, princesses et al). But amongst the Coronavirus pandemic, fashion is business as usual. It recalls the recently revived “Keep Calm and Carry On” slogan which was used by the British Ministry of Information during World War II as a propaganda poster urging its citizens to keep it together in case of attack. That same sense of calm and restraint was echoed through Nadege Vanhee-Cybulski’s Fall 2020 collection for Hermés.
One could argue that those two adjectives are de rigeur chez Hermés but that doesn’t mean intrigue and innovation and even a touch of the subversive doesn’t come with it. This season the designer created a set built from vertical white-painted bars similar to those used in horse jumping competitions, this being the house that equestrian built.
Grouped into two circular ‘forests’ that created a figure-eight runway, the show opened in a palette cleanser white with pops of red – something welcomed for the fashion weary at this stage of the season – which displayed a purism so extreme it was completely modern. Revisiting the trench and classic Macintosh style coats, the show set the tone for what would follow; coats to swoon over. Perhaps one of the most outerwear focused seasons of Cybulski’s recent line-ups, the designers had on offer butter-soft leather funnel neck ¾ length coats with a futuristic air; a shearling leather puffer; wool blanket throw and belted wrap style coats with leather trim; a creamy shearling and a new belted fit-and-flare style with a fold-over placket lined in shearling among them. The cream and butter hues would appear later on as unfettered daywear grounded with chunky oxfords designed by Pierre Hardy for the collection.
The jockey-centric theme played out in the brand’s signature foulard prints in primary colors plus green set against white and black. A strong pleated skirt statement emerged as did their abstract manner of print. Elongated solid bright polo jerseys became a sweater dress with a printed silk skirt peeking out of them while brown suspender pinafore dresses and cropped leather jackets contrasted against the colorful layering options.
Leather is the raison d’etre for the house, but this collection had a faint air of the insurrectionary with its awkwardly provocative new pant statement; high-waisted, fitted and slightly cropped. When seen within a whole black set, it suggested an edgier view of the sophisticate wearing them. A simple grey turtleneck and grey leather was particularly hard to resist living up to Cybulski’s show notes, “What is useful must be beautiful.” This style is worth jockeying a few funds around to score a pair.