For Spring 2023, Creative Director Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski utilizes an earthly color palette for utilitarian designs

The white light of the desert is unforgiving; it radiates from all angles above, and is reflected by boundless sands below. In the Tennis Club de Paris, Hermès presented its Spring 2023 collection in the blunt light of a manufactured desert dune, reaffirming the house’s long-standing ability to deliver on such promises of stamina in quality—perhaps best-illustrated by its perennially desirable Birkin bag, which continues to outlive generations of fast-passing trends.

The unfulfilled promise of utilitarianism is a contemporary archetype of fashion, where supposed comfort takes the form of violently high heels, and longevity is understood on a months-long scale. Creative Director Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski casts the house’s latest presentation under that light, offering a sense of transparency amid a week of carefully curated illusions.

Hermès’s pragmatism is all-encompassing: Its models walk through the sand in thickset, flat sandals; its color palette is comprised mostly of earthly browns, with pops of color derived only from sunsets or non-synthetic shrubbery; and its designs (while modern) carry a perpetual appeal, toeing the line between desire and endurance.

The functionality of Hermès’s garments—technical fabrics, bucket bags, and elastic cords—is on par with the expectations of outdoor-adept brands, with their primary intention of durability. Yet, the house maintains a refined style that is distinctly Parisian in nature: slim-line dresses made customizable by user-friendly zips, and the experimental placement of delicately created leather appliqués. The collection is elegant in aesthetic, and playful in performance. Backstage, Vanhee-Cybulski elaborated: “The Hermès girls are taking a bivouac, a big hike in the desert, and setting up a camp at sunset to have a party, a big rave.”