From a glistening blue swimming pool bearing the Hermès logo, a pair of yellow sandals ascends white marble steps, followed by a set of multicolored sneakers. The two pairs of shoes climb up and down a flight of stairs until each comes to rest on one of the steps, as if playing “follow the leader.”
No, this isn’t a game level from Monument Valley or an animated short from Pixar, but an Augmented Reality (AR) experience Hermès created for Instagram to introduce its spring/summer 2021 shoe collection for women and men.
Such a fun, high-tech way for a house so heavy on heritage to present its latest array of shoes, but that’s the way Hermès has always approached its design aesthetic: with one eye firmly fixed on its equestrian history and the other looking towards the future.
In its latest shoe collection, much of the credit for Hermès’ perfect balance between heritage and modernity goes to accessory designer Pierre Hardy, who’s been in charge of men’s and women’s shoes at Hermès since 1990. Known for his sculptural, graphic heels and quirky sneakers, Hardy’s sneaker fans reportedly include Rihanna, Bella Hadid and the rapper Future.
Extremely covetable sneakers abound in Hermès’ SS21 shoe collection. They mingle colored leathers with high-tech fabrics and bear the “H” motif at a clever slant that looks as iconic as any big sneaker brand’s logo.
After a number of seasons of experimenting with the design of the “H”, I think Hermès’ logo sneaker has finally found its true identity. The white sneakers with the slanted “H” in orange and orange sneaker with the “H” stitched on are particularly Hermès — destined to become classics of the house.
Hermès SS21 may also singlehandedly usher in the return of the clog. Once the province of flower children and chefs in the kitchen, the humble clog has taken a high-fashion turn with Hermès crafting its iterations out of plain or printed calfskin and adorning them with Kelly buckles.
Clogs to match your Kelly bag? Hermès has also released summery platform espadrilles and men’s loafers embellished with the distinctive buckles.
Strappy sandals woven from rich, colored leather bear other Hermès signatures like chain d’ancre (anchor chain) straps and horse-bridle details.
In deference to our new normal of loungewear, the collection is comprised of heel heights that can best be described as “comfortable,” from predominantly flat sandals, loafers and sneakers to mid-heeled wedge platforms to mules with stacked high heels — not a stiletto in sight.
For men, the shoes range from bedroom-casual (slippers in suede goatskin) to classily corporate (black leather loafers with tone-on-tone Kelly buckles). For weekend and street wear there are even slip-on moccasins and high-top sneakers.
If the ultimate gauge of a collection’s success is its desirability and ability to make people reach into their pandemic-burdened wallets with pre-pandemic fervor, then Hermès has succeeded with its SS21 shoe collection.
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Hermès’ flagship store in the Philippines is located at Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati City, tel. 7757-8910, open Monday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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