My fascination in the world of fashion always seems to land upon one of my favourite and also one of my most criticized fashion designers; Jean Paul Gaultier
His couture collections can both compel me and confuse me all at the same time. I believe this is why he is one of my favourite designers; He can bring out true emotions in his clothing- Whether it be good or bad. And the criticism seems to only make Gaultier grow even more true to his own concepts of fashion design. My fascination with him has led me to talk about the Hermes Fall 2010 collection, which of course is a collection by none other than Gaultier himself. This collection did not confuse me in one way, rather it transformed my day- Actually, my entire year- And Gaultier's work should inspire a nation of women.
Gaultier joined the Hermes team as the new Creative Director and Head of Design in 2003. The Hermes brand was owned by the Dumas-Hermes family since 1837 until 2006 when the fifth generation of Hermes retired and gave the brand name over to his successor Patrick Thomas who was the first non-Hermes-Dumas to run the Hermes name.
The traditional role of woman is being transformed
Although Hermes is generations old, the ideologies are ever changing and the fall 2010 line up is definitely fashion forward. Gaultier personifies the super-hero business woman and turns her into what every woman hopes to be- a mystery that not only wants to be solved, but deserves to be, for what you would find behind this calm, cool and collected woman is one who has fought battles, kissed boo-boo's better and spent moments remaining strong when the burden was too heavy to bear just so the world could not scoff at the Woman. The traditional role of woman is being transformed within the collection and what you would normally think of as traditional black suits and trench coats, Gaultier turns them into modern classics. His impeccable tailoring creates fluent lines that demand respect.
I see the Hermes collection as one that is all about respect. Any woman that wears these pieces commands respect. This is what I love about the Hermes Fall 2010 collection- The clear portrayal of a woman who is not afraid to show her male counterparts that she, too, can become a business success. The portrayal of a woman who is not afraid to wear defined cut clothing that is harsher than the pretty pastels and flowery shapes that most notions of "traditional" woman resembles. The collection is for the Woman who is not afraid.
It truly is a Wonder Woman collection
The bowler hats are symbols of sophisticated intelligence. The bowler hat was once the male's entitlement, but Hermes shows that times are changing and it's not only appropriate for women to embrace quote masculine unquote styles, but necessary if we Sisters wish to obtain true equality. The bowler hats represent the boundaries women have pushed and will continue to push in order to receive respect from men. It's extraordinary how such a simple item can pack so much control in it. A "male" item worn by a woman breaks that line of control and allows resistance. Hermes is an oath to as far as we'll ever get to "comfortable" resistance. All resistance is nasty and uncomfortable but Hermes is working to turn it into something that is less feared and perhaps embraced by even the shyest of women, whether they realize they are helping in the woman's movement, or not.
Fashion can take you to new levels of self-fulfillment. As we see from Gaultier's work at Hermes, it not only changes with the times, but fashion most certainly influences change. It is refreshing to see that the business woman attire has been taken seriously as a tool of confidence and respect, rather than a scapegoat for the female to be patronized in the work place. I try to take away some newfound wisdom from all the collections I view and the lesson I learned from Hermes is to be brave and push boundaries, whether that means something as simple as sporting a masculine style in a beautifully refreshed feminine way, or something as groundbreaking as demanding respect from your boss, it is this bravery that will allow women to break free from the pretty pastel hues the world loves to color us with.
** Note: Jean Paul Gaultier resigned from Hermes in May 2010 in order to concentrate more on his own projects. His final collection for Hermes is the Spring 2011 and will debut in October 2010.**
Fashion Writer / Editor Meghan Holliday
Images style.com | Hermes / Jean Paul Gaultier 2010