Hermès Fall/Winter 2020 Collection

Hermès Fall/Winter 2020 Collection

Hermès Fall/Winter 2020 Collection

 Ce qui est beau doit être utile.

 Ce qui est beau doit être utile.

Photography: Filippo Fior

Text: Rachel Fried

Nadège Vanhee-Cybulsk brought a utilitarian edge to Hermès’ Fall 2020 catwalk, with its core ethos: “What is beautiful must be useful.”

Consistent with the driving rubric of Hermès’ 2020 designs: “Innovation in the Making,” Vanhee-Cybulsk gave the long-standing horse blanket, silk twilly, and Kelly buckle staple a quick revamp of color.

Inspired by modernist and designer, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Vanhee-Cybulsk added to the layered Hermès code with color blocking and classicism. “His work was very optimistic; there was something casual but sensual about it—very up,” said Vanhee-Cybulsk backstage. And with that, a runway swelled with Hermès’ horsey classics, yet seemed something more friendly, more functional, sultry, and easy.

Quilted-leather, grungy-zipped pinafores navigated a maze of show-jumping poles in a nod toward a younger generation – the first we’ve seen since the introduction of Hermès’ much-anticipated beauty line. Fitted trench coats, primary-colored jocky sweaters, necklines with Kelly buckles and built-in scarf rings, calf-bearing skirts swaying by leather pleats, waist-hugging, ankle-exposing pants, and buttoned-up polo dresses (very editorially) laying over matching skirts, exposed purpose in dressing - a usefulness not only found in the stables. In the same regard, warm, monochromatic hues, shearling trims, and breathable, high necklines unveiled a nuevo-minimalism - as Vanhee-Cybulsk poetically put it: a “manifest of purity.”

Since 1837, Hermès has been in a Birkin-level league of its own - poised and considered with craftsmanship and quality at the forefront. Nearly 200 years later and the same holds true, luxury in its most extreme. Yet in a shy wink, a change of the tides, it seems Vanhee-Cybulsk has initiated a foray on new territory. Not necessarily accessible by all, but perhaps the French house has re-delineated itself (and the equestrian-set it caters to) and shaded its brand in a primary tinge of approachability.

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