Considering that Hermès has built an entire corporate mythos around travel, it seems only right that Christophe Lemaire's second collection for the house should take us on a journey, from serenity to sensuality. Hermès products are such profoundly tactile objects that every step of the way involved something you wanted to touch, from the flowing, snowy white linens of the opening group—with fagoted hems that made them look like they could have been cut from tablecloths in Greek nunneries—to the closing rich, dark suedes. In between, there were Moroccan djellabas, a Native American kachina-doll print, some Sahara, some Mediterranean.
If the luxury globe-trotter doesn't fancy being weighed down with stuff, then Lemaire is her minimalist of choice. The designer's own less-is-more orientalist aesthetic has found a home at Hermès, where even the least is more lush than the most of almost anyone else. In that, Lemaire's work harks back more to the tenure of Martin Margiela than that of his immediate predecessor, Jean Paul Gaultier. But a palette that embraced flame orange and cobalt blue confirmed he has a way with color, and this collection was definitely not as wound-up-tight as his first effort. With any luck, Hermès might be Lemaire's passport to a whole new world.