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Womenswear at Hermès is truly reborn under the helm of Christophe Lemaire. “Nomads, travellers, calm and patience,” said the creative director on just two of the creative touch points of the collection. Held inside the École des Beaux-Arts across the river from the Louvre and to a soundtrack specially made by French DJ and producer Pilooski, forty-five looks told a story of modern elegance that was very accessible. Two cornerstones of Hermès are the leathers and hides and horseriding, Lemaire blended all of these into a silhouette that involved louche tailoring and easygoing masculinity. An oversized trenchcoat made from material that was visibly high quality (you just wanted to reach out and stroke it) was paired with black, leather, ruched boots. Hermès never does a crazy heel which is something of a relief as it would dilute the larger message. Suede and cashmere wool trackpants also showed that Lemaire is one of the forerunners in the emerging trend of designers pushing the boundaries between sport and luxury; it’s working. “I want to create timeless pieces,” said Lemaire, “I love the idea that you can love fashion and style but in a quieter way.” A multi-generational cast of models were chosen. “Style is nothing without real women wearing the clothes,” he continued, “I don’t like uniformity or this kind of fascism about beauty because there are so many different kinds of beauty and I want to make clothes that make women feel comfortable with themselves.” On the runway was Bambou, Serge Gainsbourg’s last partner and in the audience was Jane Birkin holding a black Birkin that she’d customised with lots of scarves and trinkets. The two women hugged and kissed after the show and we stopped for a few words with Jane (it’s Hermés and Jane Birkin, how could we resist that?!)
I see you’re carrying your Birkin, Jane, it looks heavy… Yes that’s why I’m carrying it in my arms, a journalist just asked me if it was heavy to have my name associated with Hermés, I misunderstood the question and told her the same as I just told you!
What did they mean? If it was heavy to have my name associated with Hermés, but of course it’s not because €15,000 is donated to les Restos du Cœur which is a charity that feeds the homeless in France every day so I’m very happy.
Is it true that you used to carry your youngest daughter Lou in your Birkin… Oh yes when she was a baby, there’s a photo of that somewhere, of course she’s grown with these wonderful long legs so she’d never fit in now.
What were your impressions of the collection? The dress that I adored was the dress that Bambou wore because I find that wonderful dark green velvet very flattering and it was off the neck which is everything that I always desire to see, the collarbone. I could never live a life in high heels because I’ve got two bulldogs, Lou’s got a new puppy that I’ve been babysitting all week so it’s impossible and I wear mens trousers but I wear Hermés tops, cut off the shoulder do me fine. My jacket is thirty-five years old, they just re-did the inside!
Text: Sarah Hay
Photography: Mitchell Sams