We’ve seen shows streamed around the world to locally curated audiences of claqueurs and influencers—that happened even before COVID—but has a house ever held a single live show across three cities in three continents? If not—and we think not—then Hermès is about to register another first in its 184-year history.
Saturday’s Hermès show will kick off at 8:30 a.m. local time in New York before continuing in Paris (not long after 2:30 p.m. local time) then concluding in Shanghai (at approximately 9:50 p.m. local time). This means that this single physical fashion show will last nearly 14 hours (time zone wise) and cover a distance of nearly 21,000 kilometres, yet be entirely digestible in under 30 minutes from your nearest screen, wherever you happen to be.
Over a Zoom last night, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski—who alongside Hermès menswear’s Veronique Nichanian makes up the first and only all-female design leadership duo in top-tier luxury ready-to-wear—explained the thinking behind the ambitious project, entitled Triptych. “The concept is coming from the restrictions of COVID,” she said. “I’m very interested in the idea of ubiquity, of being there at the same time, but in three different places. It’s a feature of the new civilisation that’s also beyond COVID.”
Although a show that spans the globe, this will not be one standardised by globalisation, she emphasised: “We are showing a spectrum, like the colour palette of different cultures.”
To throw those cultural nuances into relief, Vanhee-Cybulski has recruited two co-creators from a different discipline: dance. Triptych’s first part will be held at the Armory in New York and feature collection-clad dancers choreographed by the artist Madeline Hollander. The Parisian part two will be held at the Garde Républicaine—site of Vanhee-Cybulski’s first show for the house in 2015—and overseen by the designer herself in a “pure” fashion show format. Immediately afterward, part three, held in Shanghai’s flagship Hermès maison, will return to dance through the choreography of the exciting classical iconoclast Gu Jiani.
Tomorrow, Hermès will post a teaser video that unstitches more of the specific thinking behind this epic show concept. It suggests that plié and plissé, expressive folds in human and textile respectively, will connect three conjoined but distinct creative articulations of the interaction between the collection and the women’s bodies wearing it. On our Zoom, Vanhee-Cybulski additionally let slip that the famous Hermès orange box—something the house first used by accident rather than design when its suppliers ran out of the then standard cream-coloured packaging in 1942—will act as an additional contextual link between Triptych’s three world-spanning chapters.
“I think it is good to work beyond borders, what keeps us apart, and to say, ‘Listen, we can be resilient and keep creativity as an oxygen,’” added Vanhee-Cybulski, before bidding adieu to take a call from her daughter. So for anyone who hasn’t traveled for a while—or anyone agog to see whether such an ambitious live presentation can hold together—check out Hermès this weekend: It should be a trip.
This article was originally published on Vogue.com