It was only a matter of time before all the fringe we've seen this season went West. Sure enough, it was down to Jean Paul Gaultier to rustle it up in full buckskin glory, across the cactus-strewn desert sands of the Hermès runway. Naturally, this cowgirl is quite the chicest, classiest example of her kind ever to don a Stetson, and her fringe-swishing posse was led out by none other than Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
Only a branded thoroughbred as sure-footed as an Hermès filly could possibly tread this trail with such a sense of fun. The kitsch risk was high, but Gaultier made it look natural: Hermès = equestrian heritage + sophisticated world traveler, after all. His quick mind for the crossover pun also found a way to twist the classic house scarf as a bandanna, and even to tame a poncho to supreme elegance, rendering it in square-cut cashmere knits and slinky jersey day dresses. And the accessories were all-out amazing: soft suede riding boots, mirrored aviators, driving/riding gloves, slim crocodile envelope clutches, handheld canvas-and-leather suitcases, and (whoa, ladies!) even a fringed Birkin.
If the Mexican striped-serape section (with cigars) went a bit too far, Gaultier reined in the references in good time to ensure that the after-dark etiquette of the Elysée Palace wasn't thrown into disarray. Take off the hat and strip away a bit of bandolier leather-work, et voilà: long, sinuous deep purple or green gowns with Madame Sarkozy's name stamped all over them. Result: Even if the luxury-goods gold rush is tailing off elsewhere, there's no sign of an end to the stampede for Hermès classics (fringe-wear or no) on the horizon.