Fashion Parties

Usher, Anna Wintour, Caroline Polachek, and More Party at Manhattan's Pier 36 With Hermès

Paloma Elsesser walking in the runway show for the second chapter of Hermès’s Fall/Winter 2024 Women’s collection. All photography by Filippo Fior and courtesy of Hermès.

There was a traffic jam outside Manhattan’s Pier 36 last night. Black cars were being halted and hailed through by men in black suits as Usher, Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Tierra Whack, and more were, no pun intended, ushered into a dark tunnel at Pier 36. When light finally emerged at the other end, two rows of model-esque servers with champagne and fizzy water welcomed attendees to the runway show for the second chapter of Hermès’s Fall/Winter 2024 Women’s collection. 

Blue light bathed the room. Traffic lights hung from the ceiling. Steel benches sat in neat rows. Despite the house’s French origins, this was clearly a New York moment. Nothing evokes the American city like the omnipresent tone of car horns and the promise of sitting bumper to bumper. When models began stalking the runway, including Paloma Elsesser and Irina Shayk, the inspiration carried into their sartorial wares. 

Many of the models donned black from head-to-toe, signature Hermès hardware stacking up their wrists. Scarves were repurposed as a variety of belts—tied, folded, rolled—in the way that only city girls or accessories-driven brands are wont to do. The house listed à barres horse rugs as an influence for the show, evident in both the title, Rocabar, and the striped motif running down turtleneck sweaters, wool dresses, and around the edge of a maxi skirt. A variety of dusty earth tones that dominated the show’s middle portion were said to have been pulled from brick buildings characteristic of the island. 

There are two staples Hermès is clearly betting on for fall: mariner’s caps and big bags. The former appeared on nearly everyone who walked, and the latter made a splashy appearance in stoplight red. Tucked under the arm of a model in quilted pants and a furry vest, the oversized leather bag was the latest iteration of a definite trend. Ballooned handbags have already made appearances this season in showings from The Row, Burberry, and Bottega Veneta. And yet, Hermès maintains its firm grasp as an industry leader given its close ties to the forever icon of the overflowing accessory: Jane Birkin. 


When the lights came up, Artistic Director of Women’s Ready-to-Wear Nadège Vanhée emerged from stage left, offering hugs to various audience members and a quick, reverent bow to Wintour. A mere five minutes after Vanhée made her exit, strobe lights descended on the crowd, curtains pulled up to reveal oyster and pasta bars, and a DJ booth appeared under a marquee reading “Hermès Manhattan Rocabar.” 

The dancing lights, steel cube furniture, and whiff of sea water and cigarette smoke gave the after-party a distinctly New York circa Sex and the City feeling. It also marked the return of Hermès’s markedly handsome waitstaff, who plied guests with cocktails and champagne (now topped off with ice cubes to combat the summer heat). The room filled quickly with supplementary attendees, recognizable TikTokers, and Birkins in sizes 25, 30, 35, and 40. 

Once maximum capacity was achieved, Caroline Polachek popped onto the stage in a red leather ensemble. She performed a rotation of hits, with the crowd volume making a notable jump during “So Hot You're Hurting My Feelings.” “New York, you look beautiful tonight,” she shouted over the audience, before miming stabbing herself in the gut during a particularly emotive lyric. When her set wrapped, followed by performances from Rahill and Honey Dijon, the black cars returned to whisk guests back into the night—except for Wintour, who had made her characteristically quick exit.