Hermès RTW Fall Collection 2020

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Working in Piet Mondrian’s exacting jargon of essential hues, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski made a standard for a Hermès closet.

If ever there were a season when it would have been easy for Hermès to trot out its heritage full gallop, it would be this one, when everyone from Michael Kors to Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing is feeling horsey, and turning out bourgeois tailoring, blanket coats and capes.

But the house has always set its own pace apart from the whims of seasonal trends. So instead, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski decided to pare the women’s wear back to a graphic essence. In keeping with the Hermès 2020 theme, “Innovation in the Making,” she presented a “manifest of purity,” as she called it, on a set of striped vertical bars reminiscent of horse jump poles.

Canvas raincoats with cape collars, contrast quilting and shearling lapels struck a preppy note, as did silk skirts with linear pattern play in the pleats. Vanhee-Cybulski focused on novelty knitwear, layering knit polo dresses over long skirts, and offering her version of rugby with a leather Kelly clasp at the neck, plus clever turtlenecks with built-in scarf rings.

Another pleasant surprise was tailoring, including a great-looking suit silhouette with side-buttoned blazer and pants slightly cropped over punky, lug-soled shoes.

Of course, there was still some leather, maybe a third of the show. And with this season’s rush of leather dressing on the runways, you could really tell the Hermès difference on a yellow pleated leather skirt and a quilted leather puffer jacket. 

And let’s talk about the cool leather pinafores with quilting and leather zip details. Something for a teen or twentysomething (very rich ones) to love, they underscored the multigenerational staying power that has enabled Hermès to weather many an economic storm (like the coming one, perhaps) since 1837.