“Is this the real life? / Is this just fantasy?/ Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.” While Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody did not make the cut for the soundtrack for Hermès’s Fall/Winter ‘19 runway show, soft jazzy beats set the mood for a moment of fantasy instead. The French luxury house took over the Mobilier National, which never hosted a fashion runway show since its inception 83 years ago. The Neoclassical building served as the storage for some of France’s most exquisite collection of furniture and objects that decorate ministries, palaces, chateaux, and embassies. Hermès menswear artistic director, Véronique Nichanian, sent models strutting down the hallowed halls of the Mobilier National clad in sensual fabrics and metallic accents in shades of navy, burnt orange, and sage. The luxurious garbs stole the headlines, but it was the accessories that truly hogged the limelight.
From the Ethereal planes of Greek mythology, the ferocious dragon rises majestically. Drawing inspiration from ancient Greek pottery, Nichanian replaced Hermès’s iconic equestrian emblem with motifs of mythical creatures, brought forth into reality from fantasy and dreams. In medieval symbolism, a dragon represents independence, leadership, and strength, all of which highlights the ethos of the venerable maison. On the other hand, Derkesthai, the ancient Hellenic verb the word dragon originated from refers to a dragon’s keen eyesight – it is the embodiment of Nichanian’s vision, her meticulous eye for detail and penchant for consistency and excellence that has served the French luxury house well since her tenure.
Capturing the imaginations of admirers and onlookers, dreamscape mythical creature motifs feature heavily on Hermès’s Fall/Winter ’19 accessories. A huge dragon motif sprawled across the Bolide 1923 in contrasting colours bore a resemblance to Pegasus (mythical winged horse). A dragon takes flight on heavy silk ties; under light, it shimmers like reptilian scales. Palladium dragon pendant necklaces worn by models doubled up as jacket lapel pins. Nichanian also highlighted Hermès’s roots in the world of equestrian with a geometric bicoloured Étrivière Shopping Bag covered in shearling. The Evergrainm calfskin straps are adjustable with the Étrivière (or stirrup leather that attaches an iron stirrup to a horse saddle ) buckles. In an almost understated manner, Hermès debuted the Cityback Cross Bag this season when it was sent down alongside the larger bags on the runway. New to the Cityback backpack collection, the Cross Bag can be worn on the waist as a bumbag or across the chest a crossbody bag thanks to its adjustable strap – its clean lines convey the idea of fluidity and sleekness.
Echoing the dreamlike theme of the show, Nichanian brought forth never-before-seen techniques to the Fall/Winter ‘19 accessories. For the first time in Hermès leather goods, the motif is loomed on the Bolide 1923 via a unique technique. Not to be mistaken with appliqué, the motifs seen on the bags are made using an ancient method known as tufting,usually found in garments and upholstery. An embroidery of mythical creature is first created on the Togo Calfskin leather in a painstaking weaving method. After which, the surface is shaved to achieve an extremely soft, velvety touch reminiscent of suede and nubuck leather. Being the epitome of refined luxury fashion, Hermès brought forth a contemporary collection of accessories which showcased that fantasy and imagination are not limited by the confines of traditions. Dracarys!