Photographs from Hermès
Words by Pratyusha Borgaonkar
Published on March 9, 2021
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Nadège Vanhée-Cybulski brings together three cities in different continents with separate performances meant to work in unison to bring the collection to life. The artistic director collaborates with choreographers Madeline Hollander from New York and Gu Jiani from Shanghai.
“I was more interested in ubiquity. I wanted to know how the collection could feed off and contribute to the energy of three very different cities. We wanted artists to take over the project and interpret my work using their own language, their own discipline. We wanted to present the contemporary woman in movement. Dance is the language of the body, the transmutation of a state of mind, of the spirit.” – Nadège Vanhée-Cybulski
It starts in a New York performance choreographed by Madeline Hollander. The dance, which is inspired by everyday moments in life, takes place against the backdrop of curtains that resemble pleats. It echoes the wrap pleated and frill dresses skirts of the dancers. Hollander describes how the study of streets and walking styles of the crowd inspired the act that transpires through the interaction of the clothing and movements.
The performance progresses to the Paris presentation where the collection was shown in a set surrounded by cylindrical towering boxes. It begins with a blue outfit with peeking check pockets, immediately setting an aura of strength. As the show continues, the checks become more prominent and more elements of geometry are infused. Occasionally, there are hints of vertical and horizontal lines on the pants, and fringed trims like the ones of cashmere blankets and jackets. Suits, coats and ponchos exhibit resilience while dresses flaunt fluidity. The collection is an attempt to attain a balance between affirmation, strength, and sensuality through femininity. The pieces befit the nightlife and would also seep into everyday life through the interplay between the fabrics, colours, and textures.
Passing the baton to the performance in Shanghai choreographed by Gu Jiani, there is an integration of culture and geometry. Jiani explains that since they resemble gifts and presents, boxes are significant in Chinese culture. Thus, the audience can relate to the orange boxes emblematic of Hermes’ brand identity for many years. The boxes are moved by dancers swiftly to interpret a story and change the visual perspective — a display of vigour.
The triptych is a collaboration by three great women who brought their own intimate perspective on femininity, sensuality and strength.
“I wanted this three-act performance to be our way of keeping a record of
these extraordinary times where the situation demands more of us than a simple runway show.” – Nadège Vanhée-Cybulski