Fashion
  • Text Cristian Burbano
  • 5th October 2020

Finding freedom

Show notes for the Hermès SS21 collection read like a poem, discussing “the growing pleasure of reconnection with the world” and “how sweet it is to live again.” An uplifting and positive sentiment, as with many this season, thoughts of the global pandemic were not too far away. Artistic Director Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski spent much of lockdown in her Paris home, with only an hour of outside time allowed each day. Yet she doesn’t dwell on the dark times, instead looking ahead at post-lockdown times to come, creating a collection all about “the freedom to reinvent, to dream of a new connection, a fresh spirit.”

This season’s show took place at Tennis Club De Paris, with a limited, socially-distanced audience and an accompanying livestream and collection of films released online. Staged to resemble Greek ruins, the multi-level tiered show space merged the venue’s cement pillars with digitised ones featuring works by artists commissioned by Vanhee-Cybulski to interpret the collection in various forms. These included oversized imagery of Greek statues and mirrored surfaces that created a surreal labyrinth experience. Artistic interpretations were also compiled to form a physical scrapbook and sent to guests that could not attend in person. 

Vanhee-Cybulski’s idea of freedom was explored within the garments themselves. Feminine cuts were constructed with notions of the seen and unseen explored with exposed backs and figure-hugging bodysuits, while, with Covid-19 changing how we dress, more leisurely looks appeared as relaxed pyjama pieces and apron trousers. On foot – models walked in comfy clogs, Hermès-style.  Being Hermès, leather pieces were certain highlights – a collarless black leather jacket in particular alongside the debut of two new bag shapes: a satchel-like shape named, Perspective Cavalière, and the Mors de Brides, inspired by the famed Hermès leather harnesses.