Since her appointment in 2014, Hermès creative director Nadège Vanhée has been carefully guiding the refined and understated heritage French label into more modern — and dare we say sexier? — territory. The Row alum has often employed adventurous themes like Saharan excursions and equestrian romps along the countryside to drive home her alluring and empowering designs. (The designer told Harper’s Bazaar in 2022 that she’s had to fight for risk-taking ideas that showcase a “much more sensual woman” than the heritage label has been accustomed to.) For the brand’s Spring/Summer 2024 show, Vanhée took us on yet another dreamy journey, this time to the majestic plains of Africa.
A fitting stage was set at the Garde Républicaine in Paris, with a runway created of winding and overlapping trails amidst tall grass and brush dotted with small white flowers and thistles. Models emerged to the peaceful tune of natural wildlife and deep bass string instruments, which slowly progressed to booming drum rhythms. A mesmerizing color story slowly unfolded on the runway, starting with a parade of rich chestnut looks, which shifted into taupe, red, chocolate, ivory, and black outfits. While each shade segment introduced a fresh crop of styles, the line-up as a whole felt cohesive and struck the same delicate balance of utilitarianism and brazen sexuality.
Said equilibrium comes by way of the midriff-baring bandeau tops, halters, and sweaters paired casually over wide-leg silk trousers and high-waisted paperbag pants and skirts, the latter silhouette a favored style of Vanhée’s these past few years. While prevalent, exposed skin and a general air of sensuality was never overdone, and often toned down by the presence of silky duster jackets and leather-patched blazers.
Speaking of leather, the heavier, sturdier fabric, typically reserved for cold-weather essentials, was softened for spring, set in buttery perforated scalloped midi skirts, longline blazers, and thin-strapped mini dresses. Instead of reading weighty and unwieldy, the material took on an almost water- or oil-like sensibility with its natural easy of movement.
Hermès, of course, is an established accessories label known for its iconic leather goods — so it’s no surprise that this category was also well represented for Spring 2024. Oversized totes stuffed with straw and wildflowers, spacious boho bags, and the occasional Birkin swung through the rustic labyrinth. A new purse emerged by way of a small crescent, shaped style, yet another example of Vanhée beautifully weaving the classic and contemporary together seamlessly.
The brand’s also debuted an elevated take on the thing sandal. Simplistic, strappy, and rendered in leather, the style was a constant in the collection, thus demonstrating its versatility. Considering Vanhée’s reputation and talent for launching a viral shoe — by now we’re all familiar with the fashion girl-loved Cayla and Carlotta clogs that quickly sold out after their debuts in the Spring 2021 collection — it would come as a surprise to no one if this fresh flat is also bound for greatness.
Scroll ahead for more highlights from the Hermès’ Spring/Summer 2024 collection.