It’s only been one collection for new Hermes creative director Christophe Lemaire, but I already miss ousted designer Jean Paul Gaultier. Hermes is a house of rich tradition and history, and mining those archives should provide more than enough inspiration to avoid gimmickry on the runway. Sadly, Hermes Fall 2011 fell into that trap from time to time. Having a model parade down a catwalk with a falcon on her arm didn’t distract me from the fact that the collection featured few of the brand’s bread-and-butter handbags, and I doubt it fooled anyone else, either.

Although Hermes’ ready-to-wear absolutely has a customer base, it’s a company built on the luxury world’s love for leather goods. You wouldn’t know it from the show, though; the accessories didn’t include a single Birkin or Kelly that I was able to find among the available pictures, and except for a few nice hand-held bags and one luscious dark chocolate duffle, the emphasis was on odd, tasseled canteens worn around the neck. Hermes shows almost always rise to the level of handbag pornography, but there was relatively little after which to lust this season.

Photos via Vogue.com.

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