Dispatches from Paris: Miu Miu & Hermés

Plastic fantastic and subtle, dark luxury

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Miu Miu - Hermès - Miu Miu, a/w 2014. Images: Imaxtree and Getty

Was it the strong scent of plastic, the sight of Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o fresh from their Oscars wins, or the fact that this was the penultimate show of fashion month that made the atmosphere so giddy at the Miu Miu show?

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Everything was coated in transparent plastic and the three-floored seating, constructed from steel scaffolding, gave a strong urban feel. Add to that the soundtrack of Depeche Mode’s darkly dreamy Enjoy The Silence, and probably the last thing expected on the catwalk were sweet pastels.

It wasn’t long before those baby blue, pink and yellow quilted ski jackets over satin pleat short dresses subverted into something more, well, Miuccia. The addition of a huge shearling coat with bare legs and spiky metallic pink sandals, or 1960s-ish shaped tailoring with pointy plastic green booties, a sickly sweet pink hand-knitted sweater or the childlike French raincoats with huge patch pockets fastened with press studs.

By the end, it had become one fantastic mash up of plastic, metallic quilting, ski knitwear, crystal embellishment and more plastic. You could see this collection going down a storm with customers who like their Miu Miu cute and shiny as opposed to grown-up and elegant. This was not the elegant woman that Karen Elson portrayed in last year’s denim coat collection, more the girl we saw in the intarsia leather animal coats of last season, except that now she’s into plastic, metallic pastels and rocks of crystal.

Hermès - Miu Miu - Hermès, a/w 2014. Images: Imaxtree

Christophe Lemaire has turned into the sort of designer who wants you to get all excited about the draped collar of a double-faced cashmere coat. And that’s just fine because he has redefined Hermès as the brand it should be – understated, uber-luxurious and proud of its travels to exotic places.

This season, it looked like the thin trousers worn under wrap skirts and those richly detailed silk prints hailed from Rajasthan. The other big idea was draping, which worked beautifully on a black belted sleeveless dress or a loose top with a scarf for a collar that gently flipped over one shoulder. Most beautiful remains the tailoring, however, which, in keeping with this season, looked to menswear for inspiration in wide-legged trouser suits and gorgeous oversized coats – so spare and impeccably structured.

Most importantly, almost any piece from Hermès is now so easy to assimilate into any wardrobe that doesn’t want to scream its fashion credentials from the rooftops. Hermès is luxury craftsmanship for those who want to be both admired and invisible.

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