TOP HATS OPTIONAL
The Belle Époque is back in Paris this weekend. Equestrian shows, a favorite upper-crust Parisian entertainment at the turn of the century, have not been staged in the city for over half a century, but on April 3-4 a chic equestrian event, the Saut Hermès, will take place under the opulent glass and steel ceiling of the Grand Palais . The French luxury goods house, which started as a fine saddler in 1837, is presenting its first international-level show-jumping competition. The event is open to the public and will feature CSI 5*-ranked riders (the best in the world). Winners of the jump offs will take home prizes of up to €100,000.
The event will also feature other equine extravaganzas in the Grand Palais, a venue with its own historic ties to horses. Between 1901 and 1957, it hosted countless equestrian events, carriage driving competitions, and speed and agility trials. Its architecture was in part designed with horse shows in mind.
Though boots and bits have been an inspiration for designers this year (John Galliano’s produced a horsey collection for Dior, for example) the Saut is about more than the current equine trend. Heritage is the buzzword in fashion these days as luxury labels go back to their roots to shore up the credentials of their products as investment-worthy pieces rather than just items of it-ness. In going back to its original customers – the horsey crowd – Hermès is putting itself back in the running. Top hats are optional.Favorite