There’s been a sandstorm in Paris this season — quite literally. Courrèges opened with a giant pendulum swinging the stuff back and forth onstage; Rochas draped their backdrop fabric to look like a Saharan expanse; and, most recently, the Hermès Spring/Summer 2023 show opened this morning in the City of Lights with a giant white dune that models had to navigate in order to follow the runway. (They wore flat, sturdy sandals, so it wasn’t that big of an ask.) Is the fashion world playing with the dueling neon desert fantasies of Burning Man and Vegas? Is it catering, a little too precisely, to the thriving luxury markets of the Arabian Peninsula? Or is it really a “sands through the hourglass” thing, where life is short but art is long, and the imperative is to live beautifully … and wear things that last?
It’s no secret that Hermès is the master of longevity: Its highly coveted Birkin and Kelly bags are routinely bought and swapped like mutual funds. The French house’s Creative Director Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski doesn’t need to worry about those hits — their worth isn’t going anywhere soon — so instead the designer delivered a series of round shoulder bags in smooth, lustrous leather. They’re often called “hobo bags” and that’s not an accidental word choice here, as they served as the ultimate accessory to equally practical outfits. The clothes on the catwalk were made for adventures (albeit very glamorous ones) thanks to parachute pulls snaked through cutaway dresses and smartly cut trench coats. Inky leather apron dresses — one shiny, one textured — lend a new kind of utility to the classic LBD, and updated macramé techniques turn hammock knots into bodycon silhouettes that are more rooted in capable strength than one-and-done sex appeal.
The irony, of course, is that some of these seemingly sturdy clothes are most finely wrought investment pieces on earth. It’s tough to imagine anyone actually needing an Hermès dress that can also be a parasail that can also be a boat rig. (As for wanting one? A different story.) That said, these are strange times, and if the Boy Scout motto is “always be prepared,” the fashion pros of the world do it one better: “always be predicting.” Hermès knows in the not-too-distant future, luxury must be part of a holistic life force in order to stay coveted, and that leather mini dress with an archery braid down the front? It’s basically giving us — and our wardrobe goals — life.
Keep scrolling ahead for a selection of looks from the collection.