• Text Jake Hall
  • 30th September 2019

Loosening up

The show notes for Hermès’ SS20 presentation speak of redefining beauty; of loosening the rigid ideals that dictate its parameters in our society. For creative director Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, who recently returned from maternity leave, this seems to mean stripping it back to its essence. In this collection, there were no frills or decorative excesses, just a clean, minimal showing that embodied the fuss-free luxury the brand has come to epitomise.

Staged at Paris’ Tennis Club with a soundtrack that sampled Janet Jackson’s iconic Rhythm Nation, the show was simple yet effective. Leather dominated the utilitarian collection; sometimes it was butter-soft and tan-hued, turned into pleated midi-skirts and slouchy, belted trousers; elsewhere it was jet-black, draped into apron-style dresses or knee-length coats.

A handful of oversized, tailored jackets seemed to nod towards the idea of a uniform, which came through in the consistency of the collection’s silhouettes. This new era of Hermés seems strictly defined by comfort; even elegant dresses hung loosely over models’ bodies, whereas tunics and sheaths were favoured over anything body-conscious, or remotely restrictive. Perhaps the notes’ talk of loosening constrictive beauty ideals played into this decision, which read as a deliberate choice to give women more space to breathe.