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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hermés Fall 2009 Collection: JPG Honors Amelia Earhart

Bomber jackets, aviator goggles and oodles of leather commanded the runway during Hermés Fall 2009 collection showing in Paris. This obvious ode to Amelia Earhart is a smart thematic choice for Jean Paul Gaultier, Hermés creative director. Frankly, I was growing tired of all the "equestrian" stuff. Apparently, so was JPG. In this collection, the avant-garde designer with a well-known tongue-n-cheek sense of design channeled the bold and masculine garb of the American aviatrix and achieved one heck of a collection.

The house of Hermés, famous for its mastery of leather craftsmanship, is the perfect choice to carry out such a heavily-influenced leather collection. From classic leather bombers, to full-length trench-coats and jumpsuits, JPG makes certain classic aviator garb was well represented, with a modern twist of course.

While I'm totally fascinated with the theme Gaultier chose for this fall collection, I can't help but being even more intrigued by his interpretations of Hermés' classic handbags. The sheep fur-trimmed Kelly Pochette is cute but has limited potential. Then JPG shocks Birkin lovers everywhere with his new "Shadow Birkin" which boasts a missing flap, straps and clochette. Well, they're not exactly missing. Gaultier designed this version of the Birkin in such a way that the missing elements essential to the Birkin style are actually etched into the material of the bag for a trompe l'oeil effect. Once again, cute but with very limited potential. I've got a sinking feeling classic Birkin collectors won't exactly be flocking to order the Shadow Birkin. It'll be a novelty item or collectors item with a hefty price tag ( @ $11,000!). That price tag is insane. I'd rather get a true Birkin instead. The level of craftsmanship that is infamously necessary to produce a Birkin is just not present in this new version. Sure it has to be embossed with the flap, straps and clochette, but that's not enough to equate it monetarily to a classic Birkin.

The one bright spot in this handbag collection is the introduction of a new clutch, the Goodlock. This fold-over top clutch has a nice, big pushlock closure that's right up my alley. The color combination of the runway piece is beautiful, but I'm excited to see this clutch in croc or lizard skins. Imagine that, ladies! The Goodlock Clutch is priced just over $5000 for the non-exotic versions. Not a bad price point for Hermés. There are some disappointments among this grouping, but I think the Goodlock Clutch makes up for them. At least JPG reined in his sense of humor enough to not hang a pair of miniature aviator goggles from a Birkin ;-)

Runway photos:


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