In a new era of live-streamed fashion shows, one has to wonder what the limits of creativity are when staging these ambitious efforts. It turns out, when things go smoothly, the answer is: there are none. Hermès, in an exemplary feat of timing, technology, and creative brilliance, pulled off a show in three acts – except each act took place in a totally different time zone. The first, staged in New York as a dance performance, then the show in Paris, and finally Shanghai for a dance performance in front of a live audience. The fil rouge (or should we say fil orange) tying each act together was Hermès’ signature orange shade, which acted as a backdrop in various textures for each performance.
“I wanted this three-act performance to be our way of keeping a record of these extraordinary times where the situation demands more of us than a simple runway show,” Hermès Artistic Director Nadège Vanhée-Cybulski shared. “I wanted a film directed by an artist with a feel for the crossover of genres and disciplines. Not a film about fashion, nor about dance, but a film about us all and all the ways we can and must continue to reinvent ourselves.”
Hermès’ ‘Triptych’ was a borderless invitation to discover the house in an emotional way, connecting us to its heartbeat even though we are physically disconnected. It opened with a dance choreographed by Madeline Hollander, which replicated the (pre-pandemic) freedom of women walking the streets in New York. It set the stage for the next act, which featured the collection, which Vanhée-Cybulski created in response to the shock of lockdown. Her vision was optimistic, and looked forward to a return to life as we once knew it. Yet, there was a softening to the silhouettes that accounted for our need for comfort.
Tailored dark-wash denim pieces touched with strips of bonded leather and checkered pockets, graphic checkered patterns shirts, and lightly studded skirts spoke to the house’s equestrian roots. Crimson polka dot silk dresses, fringed suede capes, and supple leather separates, meanwhile, spoke to the discreet luxury that the house is known for. A stand-out selection of cropped jackets were our favorite pieces from the entire collection. To close the show, the livestream headed to Shanghai, where we saw the collection’s graphic prints and leather pants in action in a visually stunning, interpretative fusion of Chinese dance and Western ballroom styles, directed by Gu Jiani. Hermès is so elite that it’s not really a “something for everyone” kind of brand, however, with this considered approach, you really felt the unifying thread of togetherness – a thread that has been missing for our lives for the past year.