THE boundaries between art and fashion are blurring and the recent Hermes event once again proved fashion is a fascinating form of art. Walking through a series of halls and rooms inside Shanghai Exhibition Center, a spectacular but somewhat mysterious world of Hermes Women was presented.
All About Women was an enchanting journey that included 50 pieces of Hermes jewelry revealing grace and nobility, as well as small leather goods turned into art installations by artist Nicolas Tourte. The journey also featured women's shoes worn by dancers with a fantasy choreography and 16 red leather bags specially made for the first women's collection show in China. They were displayed in a huge red box. Also, mousseline scarves with exquisite pearls and jewels melted into modern art installations in a graceful way.
The pre-show areas lead to the main stage where the Hermes 2012 autumn/winter women's ready-to-wear fashion show took place.
Christophe Lemaire, Hermes' artistic director for WRTW, led 32 super models from around the world in a presentation of 35 exquisite looks for this season. The models he sent down the runway (which wasn't a runway really, more like a path meandering among the seated crowd) looked very much like luxury globetrotters, but they were embarking on a different journey this time.
"The collection that Lemaire designed is like a Parisian woman who's been traveling to Argentina," said designer Bali Barret.
For many seasons past, Hermes has balanced fantasy and escapism with luxury. In his third collection for Hermes, Lemaire used Argentina's iconic Gaucho look in a fall-winter display. This was a collection for traveling women who like to be confidently comfortable.
The relaxed look was perfected with subtle contrasting pieces - a coat was so cool it hung from one shoulder, yet had the fierceness of a matador's cape.
The Paris luxury powerhouse, which started off in 1837 as a saddle maker, also sent out stunning leather looks that drew on their long history of technical expertise with the material.