Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski's Spring/Summer 2021 collection explores the tactility of individual garments—and the luxurious sensuality of a backless bodysuit

Even as the world starts to look more like we remember it, touch is still treated with hesitance at best and hysteria at worst. For Hermès Spring/Summer 2021, creative director Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski offers a collection that captures the unfathomable significance of the endless expressions of human touch, through a focus on the tactility of the collection’s individual garments and the poetic sensuality of their composites.

Leathers and suedes dominated the collection in pale beiges and desaturated taupes, lightening up the heavier materials for spring. Vanhee-Cybulski’s clever use of cutouts also served to bring levity to the collection, seen throughout the show in the form of backless fitted tops and neat keyholes perforating the sleeves of ribbed knit dresses. The show’s opening look perfectly captured Vanhee-Cybulski’s vision for Spring/Summer 2021: a soft, fine-knit bodysuit paired with a knee-length leather skirt and silver-studded clogs, all in the same shade of buttery cream. When viewed from the front, the set is unpresuming, with a high-reaching neckline and a nearly imperceptible hint of skin disclosed at the waist. But when observed from behind, it’s revealed that the bodysuit is entirely backless. Processed holistically, the whole body is luxurious to look at, quietly seductive, and a little sly.

This is a formula that Vanhee-Cybulski skillfully used throughout the show, and one that effectively signals the collection’s mission—to provide “feminine silhouettes fashioned like a second skin that breathes and affirms.” There are rigid moments found throughout, seen in open-weave dresses that form sleek exoskeletons made of thin bands of marbled horn. But they still possessed plasticity, swaying with the movement of the models’ bodies, resembling a suit of lightweight chainmail meant to protect what lies beneath—short, cap-sleeved dresses with (more) subtle skin flashes at the waist.