As revenues reach €5.2bn, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski brings good vibrations to the French heritage house
Hermès has joined the €5bn club: in its annual report released last month the company posted revenues of €5.2bn and 7.5 per cent growth in the past year. Ready-to-wear sales were up 4 per cent in the fourth quarter, with womenswear and shoes being especially strong categories.
So what does the €5bn Hermès woman look like? Well, this winter she’ll be wearing lots of colour, leather trousers, quilted jackets, blanket coats and beanie hats. Colour was key for AW17; navy blue was punctuated with fine scarlet marl-knit polo tops, and a long leather coat with shearling lining was made in the palest pink. There was a rainbow of prints: a trio of feather-light chiffon paisley dresses, rich blue scarf-print dresses, a red and white glove design, smock-top silks with key charm illustrations.
Designer Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski has worked hard to make her Hermès contemporaneous: trying to unlocks its “stuffy associations” and bring some “vibration into the house”. She had chosen the illustrations as a counterpoint to the usual equestrian symbols one associates with the label - Hermès may be high luxury, but it can still be fun.
Vanhee-Cybulski’s vision is now well established: she has found new expression in the house’s sporty heritage, helped showcase the different categories on sale (shoes, bags and jewellery all enjoyed strong growth last year and were well-represented on the catwalk) and employed the house’s huge archive of illustrations on every conceivable material, from punched leather to printed silks.
This collection had more vibrancy about it, the leather trousers and long slim button-through skirts had a zesty sensuality, a navy suit looked effortlessly cool. But sometimes the styling was a little overwhelming; a leather jacket with multicoloured shaggy shearling details worn over an emerald knit skirt and chunky-soled walking boots hid away the rather lovely rose-coloured shirt underneath. Some of the colours clashed more than combined, and did so many ensembles require such lurid thick-rib tights?
The best looks were those left alone: a leather tuxedo suit with a glove-print blouse and navy tie, a double-faced cape coat and camel cashmere trousers, the lust-worthy chiffons and silks. These worked wonderfully well and they looked, you know, expensive. Just as you’d expect from a modern billionairess.