It's always hard not to slip in an obvious pun when describing a collection Jean Paul Gaultier has his hands on: So at Hermès, it was a case of Love All. Tennis, you may have guessed, was his theme, and he delivered like a pro to give a topspin to Hermès' timeless classics. In a Spring when little kilts, black-and-white graphics, and easy sportswear are all newly desirable, Gaultier served up variations on tennis skirts, longline cardigans, dressing gowns, and club T-shirts (the latter grown into long, fluid jersey evening columns). A creamy lizard Birkin even came with a matching ball bag attached.
Joking aside, it's a rare skill to be able to pull off a trend without being that horribly disposable thing, "trendy." If a woman goes to Hermès, it's with the intention of buying something that will stay in her wardrobe for years. This collection faultlessly delivered on exactly that point, covering haute necessities from beautiful daywear (caramel leather dresses, a blue suede "umpire" blazer) to chic-casual looks for early evening (a black chiffon blouse, jacket, and knife-pleat skirt with sheer inserts) and sinuously simple navy or white ankle-skimming dresses cut to knock the competition dead at any number of indoor or outdoor summer events. Quietly, the show also established Hermès' supremacy in discreet jewelry. Fine strands of silver-link chains, worn as pendants or as belts, were a styling choice so compelling they might even shift the current aesthetic away from gold.
Clever, witty, and perfectly timed, this collection reaffirmed the position of the leather and accessories house of the rue Saint-Honoré in the Parisian top league, exactly where it belongs.