Bali Barret leaving Hermès after 17 years
Bali Barret, a highly influential member of the greater Hermès collective creative team, will leave the company in the fall, to general surprise in Paris.
Barret, the artistic director of the women’s product universe, informed the company of the departure before the summer vacation.
The house declined any comment on the exodus of Barret, but confirmed that she will leave Hermès in October. Though she never took a bow at any runway show, Barret is widely seen in France as a key element in the remarkable growth that Hermès has enjoyed over the past decade.
Barret did not return a request for comment.
A graduate of Paris fashion school ESMOD, Barret first came to the attention of Hermès back in 2003 when she still had her own label, after Pierre-Alexis Dumas, the family member who is the brand’s current artistic director, suggested that she create a mini collection entitled “Soie Belle.” Immediately establishing a more iconoclastic vision for the storied house, with silk scarves perforated by lasers and unexpected combinations of leather and silk.
Three years later, she was named director of the house’s silk division, a key sector within Hermès, which last year scored total annual revenues of 6.88 billion euros, with 12 percent annual growth.
“At the beginning it was something of an electro-choc but, in this house of great fantasy so attached to creativity, nothing is impossible. A great liberty reigns there,” she told French Elle in a portrait A Day with Bali Barret.
In 2009, she was named director of the feminine universe of overseeing over a dozen métier including ready-to-wear, leather goods, footwear and jewelry, bringing a polished sense of French joie de vivre to the 183-year-old brand.
“My role is to share, collaborate and reflect with the artistic directors of each métier; to listen to their desires; their proposals; and to push them a times into even more radial directions. To make treasures emerge from each department,” Barret told Elle. A legendarily hard worker, Barret continued to oversee the silk department, working with over 50 illustrators, ageing from 25 to 80.
A mother of one son, Attila, Barret was nicknamed the Agile Spirit of Hermès. Instantly recognizable for her boyish attire – black boots; black leather jeans; white shirt and man’s jacket – her next step in luxury will be closely followed.
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