Hermès is a fashion house that's forever known for its classic aesthetic. Collections may change season over season, but iconic pieces like the Kelly Bag, the Birkin, and the silk scarf never seem to leave the fashion lexicon. Now, creative director Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski is here to modernize while paying homage to the brand's storied history. Hermès Spring/Summer 2020 runway collection is an expression of what the brand does best — leather, and a lot of it. Not just in its accessories, but in a smart selection of separates: skirts, jackets, trousers, and even bibs.
The starting point of this season's collection was the apron, a practical piece worn by the brand's artisans and craftspeople since the very beginning. But rather than going the literal route and grouping together a set of exact replicas, what Vanhee-Cybulski created was an elegant, minimalist collection that, while an obvious nod to the brand's backbone, still stuck to the core air of luxury that makes Hermès what it is. In a way, it's a presentation of the modern uniform, meant to be embraced by the modern Hermès customer. It's practical, elegant, luxe, and timeless — all at once, because instead of bending to the whim of every trend, this is a brand that plays the long game. Hermès intentionally creates the type of pieces that customers will hold onto forever, while still making space for something new each season.
Throughout fashion month, many brands have chosen to eschew the usual tropes of the Spring/Summer season. Florals and bright colors aren't gone entirely to be sure, but they are rarer than you might expect. Instead, Hermès, like many other fashion houses stuck to the jewel tones, heavy coats, and cozy materials usually associated with the fall and winter. There are still silky suits and short hemlines, but the clothes have a distinctly autumnal feel. But, the subdued coloring and clean lines also nod to the fact that practical dressing was a key part of the equation when deciding on which way to steer the collection.
Not only were there pockets, clips, and handy harnesses sprinkled throughout, the accessories chosen also suggested that they're intended for a woman on the go. Every look was styled with a pair of simple, flat sandals in either black or brown. The bags ranged from mid-sized with a shoulder strap to a slouchy, oversized silhouette, but there was nary a mini bag to be found.
So through the fray, what can such a collection tell us about the state of luxury fashion today? Hermès presents an idea that even their customer, which sits at the top end of the shopping spectrum, is one that is looking for comfort and practicality. What good is a $10,000 handbag if you can't fit anything inside? And why splurge on a flash-in-the-pan style when you can buy something you'll wear forever? In a world where many brands are finally beginning to address the glut of fast fashion, Hermès' slow approach is an alternative that, while not attainable for all, at least reaches for a solution.