Attending an Hermès fashion show is an experience unto itself. Upon arrival, we were ushered up two flights of stairs at the library of the Lycée Henri IV and greeted with bubbly, cocktails, and bites at once. The sense of intimacy only built on itself from there. With cozy seating (some attendees got comfortable on sofas and love seats, others took a seat on benches), the gracious setting proved to set a perfect mood for a collection inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca and her clandestine, perverse affairs.The complicated simplicity of Christophe Lemaire is as deceptive his dark heroine. This is a designer with a complex vision and you need to be savvy in order to appreciate it. Be it a cape, casually slung over proud shoulders (like the asymmetrically draped one that opened the show) or a softly layered silk blouson over slick leather skirt topped by goat-hair coat: this is not wham-bam-thank you, ma’am fashion. But subdued and refined does not mean boring, that’s for sure. Expect luxury with a capital L. The belted trousers, loose fitting for the dame who moves, and angular jackets speak of Katherine Hepburn-level prowess. Bright splashes of stripy color had my heart racing, and the bold touches broke up the beautifully tailored neutrals perfectly. The subtle chicness of Hermès is uncompromisingly French. And French women are anything but simple. Just try to get an instant reading on this femme, as glamorously cryptic as a Hitchcock character. Anyone can buy a Birkin, but it takes an extreme sophisticate to appreciate Hermès’ impeccably tailored clothes.