Hermès’ Artistic Director on the Illicit Lure of a Red Dress

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Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski has long been captivated by the colour red, she tells Olivia Singer in AnOther Magazine A/W17

“When I was young, I would collect red dresses – it wasn’t something that I deliberately decided, but I was just always drawn to them. It became an obsession, a game whenever I went to a vintage shop: ‘Where is my red dress?’ Building this lexicon of red dresses became a way to discover different cuts and prints; an exercise in understanding colours and shapes, exploring the way the optics of certain shades would play with prints and proportions. I come from a background where Catholicism was visibly present, where red was always connected to both passion and sin, and it was attractive to me because it’s so incandescent… I love this oxymoron between life and death, sin and power. Even the pope wears red shoes. Then, when you go to sex shops or burlesque shows, red dresses become very sensual. You don’t have that with yellow, black, or blue.”

Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski grew up in northern France, in a region replete with deadstock vintage dresses, and her teenage obsession with unearthing these garments and then studying their nuances proved the perfect foundation for a career rooted in a meticulous attention to detail. Having worked at Céline and The Row, and now as artistic director for Hermès womenswear, Vanhee-Cybulski has made her name by creating perfectly formed clothes that are impeccably constructed and quietly alluring. “Sometimes it felt like I’d need to tame a red dress because I felt such a frantic impulse to buy it,” she explains. “I want to transmit that same excitement, that desire, through my work too.”

Hair: Taan at l’Atelier (68). Make-up Mélanie Sergeff at l’Atelier (68). Photographic assistant: Corentin Thevenet. Styling assistants: Rebecca Perlmutar, Diego Diez and Sunnie Fraser

The Autumn/Winter 2017 issue of AnOther Magazine is on sale now.