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Hermès Womenswear S/S11

Jean Paul Gaultier bids adieu to his tenure at Hermès with a cantering exit

The sound of a horse's canter that also clip-clops to the clack of a castanet pretty much sums up this gloriously beautiful and sensual last collection by Jean Paul Gaultier for Hermes before Christophe Lemaire takes over. Gaultier has of course tapped into the whole equestrian thing before, delving into the house's heritage and combining it with his own penchant for sexual or fetishistic undertones. Today though, with a backdrop of half a dozen horses and riders cantering about, Gaultier took us to a Spanish horse ranch where femmes would ride out in stiff-brimmed leather hats, wide leather basques cinching the waist, body harnesses, bolero jackets and fringed shawls. The Spanish qualities only added a subtle bristling sensuality to the collection that above all, smacked of pure luxury. Suede cigarette trousers with a matching belted jacket, a cinnamon tailored jumpsuit, leather fronted cardigans, a burnt orange trouser suit and most interesting, a jacket made out of an almost see-through croc leather all showcased Gaultier's respect for the house's call for everlasting quality and prestige that also had his DNA in it. As Gaultier ran out to say his farewell, a standing ovation was given as we usher in another era at the house.