In an unexpected development within the Paris fashion scene, Bali Barret, a highly influential member of the creative team at Hermès, is set to leave the iconic luxury brand in the coming fall. Serving as the artistic director of the women’s product universe, Barret shared her decision to depart with the company prior to the summer break.
While Hermès has opted not to provide an official statement regarding Barret’s exit, it has been officially confirmed that she will conclude her tenure with the brand in October. Although she did not have a prominent public presence at runway shows, Barret is widely acknowledged in France as a pivotal force behind Hermès’ remarkable growth over the past decade.
Despite efforts to seek comments from Barret, she has not yet responded to inquiries regarding her departure.
As a graduate of the renowned Paris fashion school, ESMOD, Barret initially garnered the attention of Hermès back in 2003 when she operated her own label. It was Pierre-Alexis Dumas, a family member and the current artistic director of the brand, who suggested the creation of a mini collection titled «Soie Belle.» This marked the inception of a more unconventional vision for the storied house, characterized by silk scarves intricately designed with lasers and innovative blends of leather and silk.
In 2006, she was appointed as the director of the house’s silk division, a pivotal sector within Hermès. This division achieved remarkable success, with total annual revenues reaching 6.88 billion euros last year, boasting an impressive 12 percent annual growth rate.
Barret shared her thoughts on this journey in an interview with French Elle titled ‘A Day with Bali Barret,’ saying, «At the outset, it was something of a shock, but in this house that cherishes creativity and fantasy, nothing is beyond reach. Great freedom reigns here.»
In 2009, she assumed the role of director of the feminine universe, overseeing more than a dozen métiers, including ready-to-wear, leather goods, footwear, and jewelry. Barret infused a refined sense of French joie de vivre into the 183-year-old brand.
Elaborating on her role, Barret explained, «My role is to collaborate, reflect, and share with the artistic directors of each métier. I listen to their desires and proposals and sometimes encourage them to explore even more radical directions. My goal is to unearth treasures from each department.»
Known for her legendary work ethic, she continued to oversee the silk department, collaborating with over 50 illustrators spanning the ages from 25 to 80.
A mother to her son, Attila, Barret earned the nickname ‘The Agile Spirit of Hermès.’ She is instantly recognizable for her boyish attire, featuring black boots, black leather jeans, a white shirt, and a man’s jacket. The next chapter of her journey in the realm of luxury fashion will undoubtedly be closely monitored.