Hermès's New Designer Tops Expectations

Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski's debut for Hermès brilliantly combined heritage elements with her personal design signatures.
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Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski's debut for Hermès brilliantly combined heritage elements with her personal design signatures.
Photo: Imaxtree

Photo: Imaxtree

Was there anyone better than Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski to replace Christophe Lemaire at Hermès? The answer, we can now say, is no. The womenswear designer’s first show for the house, which took place at the stables at the Republican Guard, brought forth the right ideas about heritage, creativity and craftsmanship — all qualities that are at the core of Hermès’s identity.

Vanhee-Cybulski was not shy with her equestrian references: A quilted vest, for example, was inspired by a saddle pad. Several riding jackets were rendered in smooth lambskin leather. A leather choker on a cape coat resembled a saddle strap. She also embraced the Hermès scarf, designing a wrap skirt made out of navy leather and silk printed with the brand’s well-known Sangles print. It was worn with a navy silk and cashmere sweater that was accented with a mother of pearl and black agate brooch.

Yet, it was anything but an homage. You could see Vanhee-Cybulski’s personal design signatures emerge as well. There was the double-faced cashmere in contrasting shades, mock turtlenecks and narrow skirts that bell out ever so slightly. Her color choices were notable, too: vibrant reds, oranges and yellows played well against all that navy, black and cream.

Sophistication can be an icky word, but Vanhee-Cybulski does have a way of making fashion that looks like it is meant to be worn by wise women. (Every major brand she's worked for — Margiela, Celine and most recently, The Row — subscribe to a similar ethos.) Given that Hermès is the wisest of brands, it’s no surprise that she has seemingly settled in so quickly. The company has been vocal about wanting to build up its women’s ready-to-wear business, and what better way to do it than to employ a designer with the ability to stoke desire? These were, above all, want-able clothes.