Artistic director for Hermès menswear Véronique Nichanian wants men to have fun with their style. To bring a touch of the “dandy” back to their wardrobe.
Hermès has never been one to shout, their approach to style being more considered and cognisant of technical detail and subtle twists than trumpeting trends.
So when Nichanian talks of a dandy-like aesthetic appearing in the show, it’s almost a warning that what you’re about to see will contain a level of attention to detail you could do well to have a magnifying glass handy.
So how does this translate, however, in a brand such as Hermès with penchant for minimalism and Parisian restraint?
Simply, by keeping it simple.
Address those key functional details in menswear and turn them into a double entendre: coloured wool linings become a bold contrast to the leather outer of jackets; shirting in technical poplin that, in lieu of a traditional collar, rises in a twisted formation that wraps across the neck. Removable lambskin linings add a sense of personalisation.
Or in other instances make the simple luxuriously decadent. As in the case of a suit made entirely of calfskin that looked so supple, so fluid and light that it look as comfortable and natural in motion as a second skin. Pun intended.
Nichanian’s signature blast of colour appears in the linings of jackets, as mentioned, and in the graphic detail of knitwear before finding its full expression in shirting and outerwear.
One of the most interesting facets of the show was the patinated canvas that had the appearance of an eroded surface.
A concurrent theme throughout the show was clothing that was reversible, or hybrid. Giving the wearer the freedom to wear it with a personal expression.
It’s this sense of liberté and that has become a signature motif for the maison – possibly even more than the stirrup or saddlery even if not so visible – that is perhaps the most dandy-like element of all.