Hermès Brings the Birkin Bag Downtown

The house also put on a few different hats, literally and figuratively, for the second chapter of the Fall 2024 collection.

hermes show
(Image credit: THEO WENNER)

At the intersection between ultimate luxury and stoic tradition sits Hermès, where a modern Birkin or Kelly design mirrors its decades-old vintage predecessors. Vying for one is still curated around the good old-fashioned in-person experience—one of the reasons you won’t be able to purchase a bag through its website or run over to the 5th Avenue boutique to grab a rare J.Lo-endorsed Birkin style. But even with roots so deeply preserved in heritage, evolution is everpresent—even if that just means tweaking the regular biannual show schedule. For the first time since 2019, Hermès and its artistic director of women’s ready-to-wear, Nadège Vanhée, brought its classic French sensibility to a Fall part-two show in New York City, a special and familiar place to Vanhée, who called the concrete jungle home until she relocated to Paris with the fashion house ten years ago.

As always, aspiration was abundant; a five-digit accessory crafted in a French atelier isn’t necessarily in one’s hierarchy of needs—but the house also put on a few different hats, literally and figuratively. There were newsboy caps to match your bag, boots and leather jumpsuits, a toe dip into size-inclusive casting, and a downtown vibe that felt less Parisian and more distinctly American-inspired.

Hermes part-two runway show

New York’s Lower East Side was a point of inspiration for the house's Fall part-two show that took place at Manhattan's Pier 36 overlooking the East River.

(Image credit: FILIPPO FIOR)

While the brand's allure lies in its unwavering stasis, the collection was a testament to its adaptability—something Vanhée knows much about coming from incubator-turned-viral luxury brands like The Row. An extension of the first Paris-based Fall show unveiled in February, whose mood board cited horses and motorcycles, the second act was an equally energetic sequel.

In a fashion landscape where many designers are embracing the past with ladylike pillbox hats and vibrant feathered caps—at a time when the art of millinery is endangered—Hermès stood out with its focus on practicality and modernity. This emphasis on what women actually want (and will wear): hands-free crossbody bags, plenty of pockets, and boots designed for the contemporary woman on the move is a nice point of view. Without worrying about building your brand, proving its worth, or putting one back together, a woman can design for women, tweaking things ever so slightly in the process and giving Hermès devotees just what they want—a great coat you can match to your Birkin.

Sara Holzman
Style Director

Sara Holzman is the Style Director for Marie Claire, where she's worked alongside the publication for eight years in various roles, ensuring the brand's fashion content continues to inform, inspire, and shape the conversation about fashion's ever-evolving landscape. With a degree from the Missouri School of Journalism, Sara is responsible for overseeing a diverse fashion content mix, from emerging and legacy designer profiles to reported features on the influence of social media on style and seasonal and micro trends across the world's fashion epicenters in New York, Milan, and Paris. Before joining Marie Claire, Sara held fashion roles at Conde Nast's Lucky Magazine and Self Magazine and was a style and travel contributor to Equinox's Furthermore website. Over her decade of experience in the fashion industry, Sara has helped guide each brand's style point of view, working alongside veteran photographers and stylists to bring editorial and celebrity photo shoots to fruition from start to finish. Sara currently lives in New York City. When she's not penning about fashion or travel, she’s at the farmer’s market, on a run, working to perfect her roasted chicken recipe, or spending time with her husband, dog, and cat. Follow her along at @sarajonewyork