Leave it to Jean Paul Gaultier to do at Hermès what Riccardo Tisci attempted unsuccessfully at Givenchy. Gaultier's riff on the American West ranged from subtle nuances to kitschy tribute. Though the presentation was over the top (yes, those are cacti on the runway), the collection was surprisingly wearable. Classic shirtdresses, cropped trousers and draped coats were accessorized with cowboy hats, suede boots and, towards the end of the show, cigars.
Fringe, already a major presence at the past four fashion weeks, trimmed skirts, dresses, jackets and boots. Classic Hermès scarves were tied at the throat, ready to be hiked up across the face for the chicest bank robbery in history. Driving gloves and mirrored aviators further accessorized the collection, and took the overall effect from campy Western to jet-set chic. For the fashion risk taker, Mexican serape stripes popped up on swimsuit cover-ups and a full-length shirtdress.
Another accomplishment at Hermès was Gaultier's inclusion of so many models of color. After all the hype of the all-black Vogue Italia, it was disappointing to still see so few non-white models used during the four major fashion weeks. However, the Hermès show embraced women of all races. Jourdan Dunn, Lakshmi Menon, Liu Wen, Sessilee Lopez, Kiki Kang, Arlenis Sosa, Yasmin Warsame, and Chanel Iman all walked in Saturday's show.
Veteran supermodels Naomi Campell and Stephanie Seymour opened and closed the presentation in all of their Amazonian glory, adding further drama to the show's theatrics. And Gaultier was all smiles when he ran out to take his bow in a black cowboy hat with a cigar clenched between his teeth. In season that had so many designers taking themselves too seriously, it was a welcome change to see someone having so much fun.