VOGUE/ AFP – Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski was looking for a certain Hermès essentialism—and somehow, among the thicket of upended show-jumping poles, two live topics of the season seemed to click together. On the one hand, pared-back minimalism; on the other, the solution to the debate around what really constitutes the values of the bourgeoisie.
Hermès is about craftsmanship and technique, and the obscure and time-consuming labour that goes into producing such items as a fine white fitted trench coat that you almost can’t tell is leather until you touch it, or a creamy beige oversized shearling coat. Yet simultaneously, the culture here is not about showing off wealth. Vanhee-Cybulski collection isn’t just a play on the theme of horse riding—it’s for people who own stables and country houses, and have either been born into, or cultivated, a sense of sporty ease about what they want to wear. Could be the horse-blanket coat with tan leather pockets end of things—subtly done—or equally a polo shirt dress or a bright colour-blocked jockey sweater. “I wanted to do primary colours and classicism,” Vanhee-Cybulski said.
So on Vanhee-Cybulski’s runway: clothes that don’t need overexplanation to prove their worth. Instead, there was a line written by Vanhee-Cybulski that said far more: “What is beautiful must be useful.” Why? “Well—it’s a bit of the school of the Bauhaus—that process of stripping away the superficial to get to the functional,” she said.