The setting couldn't have been more lovely for Tuesday night's fall 2013 Hermès show from designer Christophe Lemaire. There we were in the wood-paneled library of the secondary school Lycee Henri IV, surrounded by 60,000 volumes. And with cocktails and hors d'ouevres being passed, no one was in much of a hurry to get the show started. That idea of the luxury of time got me thinking about what Hermés is all about, which is the dedication to quality and hand craft, even if it takes a year or more to fill a handbag order. It's the slow-fashion movement.
The look: Under-the-radar luxe. Neat and tidy. Perfectly cut capes, leather coats and long, leather wrap skirts. A black dress with a white swish of silk in front. The brand's signature scarf prints were kept at bay; there was one red, abstract print, tie-front blouse tucked into a black pencil skirt. But even the famous Hermés enamel bracelets stacked on wrists were shown in solid colors.
There were barely any bags on the runway either, and certainly none of those overexposed Birkins. Instead, there was a buttery soft, caramel-colored tote and a glossy black satchel, both of which seemed to be devoid of hardware.
The verdict: As chic and minimal as it always is, but with enough small surprises to keep things interesting, especially for evening -- red stripes on a pair of tuxedo pants worn with a black biker jacket, for example, and a black, sleeveless, V-front jumpsuit worn with ankle-strap, peep-toe shoes.
I imagine those pieces and more will see plenty of action in Beverly Hills in early September when Hermés is planning a gala event to celebrate the reopening of the Rodeo Drive flagship.