Hermès: Après nous le déluge
Hermès unveiled the latest post-pandemic Spring/Summer 2022 collection of Paris Men's Fashion Week at Saturday lunchtime, an optimistic, sunny choice of clothes staged in steady downpour.
Hermès likes to consider itself as the true exemplar of discreet luxury but it is to its credit that the house’s menswear designer Véronique Nichanian creates discretion with real panache.
She took the decision to stage her show outside – one of just a half-dozen live runway events before an audience in Paris this season. The weather gods had other ideas. But the house provided its 150 guests with enveloping wet-weather, hooded ponchos, and the show went on. Rending the audience like members of a new order of techy monks.
The setting itself was perfect: the Mobilier National, a giant pre-war Modernist building which warehouses the finest state-owed furniture in France for use in embassies and ministries. Kitted out with some mammoth video screens showing the cast circling the building’s courtyard.
“It’s nice to be back with a live show. We are optimistic people, even if it rains on our show!” laughed Nichanian, whose last real catwalk appearance was in January 2020.
As it turned out she also had a healthy share of waterproofs in the collection – opening with great zippered parka/trenches and including a beautiful computer-graphic nylon duster, the same pattern as the invitation to the show.
Handsome lightweight reversible jackets, in contrasting fabrics – like plain thin lizard and technical cotton – what call Nichanian called “double jeu,” or playing both sides in English. Plus, her out-of-focus print silk shirts; perforated tops and dip-dyed cashmere cable cardigans managed to be hip, yet very classy.
Moreover, few colour palettes are subtler than Hermès – celadon-green; washed out carbon; faded rose or light algae. Accessories, vital in a brand like Hermès, all looked super swish, from the piped high-tops to the new canvas totes with triple-stripe 'H' logos.
Despite the steady rain, Nichanian garnered hearty applause at the finale, taking an extended bow.
“With Covid we have found a new way to dress. A distinctive way of dressing in new materials, a fresh coloration; a new elegance, in my view. Like playing with our heritage with patterns; perforating the H; playing with 3D; double printing,” added the designer post-show, as a crowd of ponchos gathered about her.
And the rain fell steadily in the courtyard.
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