Hermes' intimate show smacks of Poirot mystery

THOMAS ADAMSON AP Fashion Published:

PARIS (AP) -- Hermes pared down the energy of last season for fall-winter 2013-14 in what was a more classical, intimate ready-to-wear affair.

High waists and furs gave proceedings a glamorous edge, which was further encouraged with models sporting Greta Garbo waves in their hair.

"I wanted every girl I hope to look a bit mysterious," designer Christophe Lemaire said backstage Tuesday.

Long tan coats thrown nonchalantly over shoulders and rich capes slightly alluded to this. But the element of mystery was evoked less in the clothes -- which included a cool, gray but wholly un-mysterious "chubby" coat -- than the actual show setting: one of the most curious presentations this season.

In an 18th century school building in Paris' Latin Quarter, guests -- including actress Jane Birkin -- were led up wonky stairs, and into a sprawling wooden library with armchairs, benches and tables.

Initially, it felt like the beginning of an Hercule Poirot murder mystery. Models in the 38 looks in mainly gray, brown and black snaked in and out of the guests, who sat comfortably drinking old-school spritzers.

As ever, Hermes is synonymous with luxury -- and here, the textures and fabric quality were second to none, with full-grain leather, cashmeres, and sumptuous linens. There were great individual looks, like a super-stylish oversized gray double-breasted suit, with one collar up in a hint of dishabille.

But somehow the vibrancy of last season seemed muted.

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Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP