A pamphlet on each seat at the spring Hermès show waxed poetic about “Hermès Colors: — black, blue black, wet blue, ficelle, Hermès red, ultraviolet and pink granite — with funny little descriptions written by Jarvis Cocker. Who knew wet blue is blue when it’s naked? All of these colors appeared in Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski’s collection, though it wasn’t a vivid color story. Hermès’ rainbow is a muted one. But the lineup was more expressive and playful that where she started at the house. Little by little Vanhee-Cybulski is getting more comfortable and less polite.
She worked the colors into graphic patterns — tons of unusual plaids, grids and classic Hermès scarf prints — handled with an off-kilter, modernist eye. A nice tartan cape jacket that unzipped in the back to create adjustable panels opened the show, and other fresh plays on plaid included a tight, spongy knit top and pencil skirt in tan and white, and a madras linen dress that was fitted through the bodice with a high neck, had slim long sleeves and a skirt done in gentle, un-frilly asymmetric ruffles. The silhouettes were feminine, arty and minimalist — merged with sporty classics. Vanhee-Cybulski tweaked proportions and cuts, not always successfully. A viscose knit skirt hiked up high on the waist with skinny suspender straps worn over a puffed-sleeve blouse was an interesting revamp of the classic pencil skirt, but pants with double layered legs, as if your pants were wearing a cape, didn’t make sense.