After a Fall collection that spectacularly starred a Frenchwoman on a rendezvous with romance, Christophe Lemaire took Hermès into the jungle for Spring. He's not the first designer to inject steam heat into his show this week, but given last season's scenario, it was hard to resist the notion that Lemaire's woman was on the run now, hiding in Brazil or Vietnam from her love gone wrong.
Lemaire's big influence was Henri Rousseau, the Frenchman who painted jungles without ever having seen them. The pendulous flora of Rousseau's work were duplicated in the print that opened the show, with boots to match. The artist's dark jungle green colored tops, shifts, crocodile culottes, and a wrapped leather coat. It was, in fact, color that marched this collection on: mulberry, teal, sky blue, sunset orange—intense shades that were new to Lemaire's formerly neutral world. He applied them to long fluid shapes, ideal for a woman who values anonymity above all else. The mulberry jumpsuit paired with flip-flops? No chance anyone on the run will attract attention in that.
Still, as Lemaire pointed out, the Hermès woman is a traveler, an adventuress. In that spirit, the easiness of this collection made sense. Nothing more complicated than a voluminous shirt over a suede skirt, a generously cut linen suit, a blanket-weave wrap skirt. But this is, after all, Hermès, so there was also a pencil skirt in mustard croc, as casually tied as if someone had whipped a man's tie around its waist, or a petrol blue leather blazer draped over a teal blouse and a purple skirt in a symphony of Ackermann-like color. They seemed like the very essence of hiding in plain sight, like Malgosia Bela's appearance at the end of the show—white shirt, high-waisted pleated white pants, and a sense of chic malevolence. Lemaire can sure spin a story.