Vive le Sport

Monday, April 29, 2013

A beautiful chestnut-leather show-jumping saddle paid tribute to Hermes’ establishing métier; the equestrian world – but sports d’hiver fittingly took center stage in the F/W accessories static show. ‘A Sporting Life’ was Lemaire’s year theme; ski poles and goggles replaced the golf clubs and boulle-balls of S/S. There were fur throws, a (delicious) fondue, and the centerpiece was a chalet. Vive le ski alpinisme!

The two (waterproof) leather ski suits at the entrance -one in mustard and chestnut, the other white with chestnut detail- were conspicuous thematic exemplars of le sport, as were the oily calfskin mountain boots and grained nappa merino mittens. There were subtler touches and winks however; the loud scarves printed with figures embodying 1920s sports d’hiver when the craze was nascent, recollective of 20s ski resort posters and prints, and the sober slouchy calfskin backpack in authentic sporting style. The men’s watches were sporty but elegant; perfect for a day on the pistes, or the water.

The official Hermes Sport print is geometrical; a series of triangles, parallel lines and circles. The shapes and structure of this design are in dialogue with many other of the objets in the collection: mathematics reigns supreme. Scarf prints arrange themselves into squares, angles, Escher cubes. Joel Stein’s scarf is one of pure hypnosis and optical illusion, and the wide enamel stacking bracelets take on this geometry. Of particular note are the diagrammatical table set, and the wonderful silk moccasins in the Carre Cube design; pure pop that would vivify even the dullest winter wardrobe.

But for all the fun and games of the prints (and in the collection itself, there’s an alligator puzzle set) there is a sobriety to many of the accessories. The Maxibox ‘suitcase-bags’, inspired by old traveling trunks, exhibit pure craftsmanship and are incredibly simple and chic. The unlined calfskin Convoyeur bag – a new model – showcases the innate beauty of raw leather, sometimes lost in the fussiness of over-design. The women’s boots have an equestrienne vibe: sturdy heels, laces and leather buckle-straps. These objects are serious without being oppressive, and remind us that in 1837 Hermes was just a Parisian harness house.

The cherry blossom may just have carpeted the streets of NYC, but we’re looking forward to the snow of F/W 13!



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