Hermés Takes a Walk on the Wild Side
A blue-jacketed man holding an oversized strawberry-shaped lollipop greeted the guests of the Hermés annual themed party. No, we know what you’re guessing. And it’s not high-end fashion’s attempt on a Willy Wonka remake. The attendant served as an entrance to the fashion house’s Nature at Full Gallop themed soirée.
Instead of rolling up to the chocolate factory’s gates, guests met at a location on Paris’ eastern edge. Upon arrival, those in attendance were loaded into buses and driven off to an undisclosed location. Cue the beginning reel of every horror film ever made.
Well, 40 suspenseful minutes later, the guests arrived in Ermenonville. A town best known for its 18th-century garden, the site also conceals the gravesite of famed French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. While all signs lead to a ‘murder’ mystery theme, Hermés intended for its guests to experience an unparalleled view of nature.
The garden’s unruly design is purposefully unkempt. Given only a mosquito repellent for protection, the guests embarked on their journey through nature. Disco spotlights, single-note musicians and whimsical dancers met them on every turn as their natural experience turned otherworldly.
WWD even reports a grown ballerina would enchant passersby to gallop through the woods with her as more performers entertained the hallucinatory walkways.
Pierre-Alexis Dumas, the artistic director of Hermés, remarks on the party’s Rousseau ideology as the philosopher deemed nature synonymous with harmony:
“To reconcile ourselves with nature is to become reconciled with ourselves and with the world we live in, which is the home of humankind. This was Rousseau’s dream and this is also what we stand for at Hermès.”
Cultivating this dream-like exhibition was none other than opera’s first mindful artist, Frederic Wake-Walker. Wake-Walker also served as artistic director of Mahogany Opera Group and as head of Mica Moca Project in Berlin.
The woodsy environment continued well into the evening as guests were seated for dinner on tree stumps. Fresh vegetables were served in hollowed out loaves of bread; a simple meal made artful thanks to Michelin-starred chef, Alain Passard of L’Arpège restaurant in Paris.
Guests galloped throughout nature’s untouched terrain, traversing life’s most original element. For Dumas concurs that nature will always be “an ally and everlasting source of inspiration.”