Despite its equestrian origins, Hermès remains a brand of the city – its energy, its pace, the freedom it has to provide a space to be who you dream to be – and it’s this influence that artistic director of the menswear universe Véronique Nichanian so adroitly references in her collections for the Maison.
Her latest outing for the Maison’s Spring Summer 2024 collection speaks to way the body moves through that city and its myriad contrasts. While an Hermès garment never rushes per se, Nichanian still had movement at the front of her mind and the needs of the body to do so, freely.
The city as muse was vivid in the clothing itself, balancing the lightness required to be comfortable with the structure that is the hallmark of menswear. But under Nichanian’s light touch, that structure is never rigid. Whether it was a leather hooded jacket or a gauzy “beach” blazer, all presented the same deft fluidity that promised a summer line actually designed to be comfortable in summer.
Shirting and jacket were worn in layers, but sheer and so light that the bare hint of skin was visible but enough to give the impression that these were clothes that would let the body breath during an actual summer.
Sandals were given a sneaker edit with thicker, rubber soles perfect for striding through the city. Leather accessories spoke to peak Hermès codes: a double-strap belt descended from the watch strap and a Haut à courroies given a sun-bleach treatment where the outline of tags leaving a ghostly silhouette on the bag.
Knits were equally chunky and breathable, nautical even in the most urbane way, while technical fabrics used for trousers and anoraks gave the collection a hazy shimmer.
Entering the chat was also the summer-must have tiny shorts. If Hermès is encouraging the gents to get their legs out, who are we to argue?
While the colour palette spoke to the city’s mineral tones of steel, cement, blue skies and water the graphics on shirts and jackets was perhaps the most entertaining and subtle nod to the collection’s inspiration: geometric shapes in various tonal shades that resembled the passing shadows of buildings as the sun passes over.
Even as Hermès remains the pinnacle of the quiet luxury philosophy, before quiet luxury was even a term, the Maison’s belief in the freedom of the body to move and for clothing to move with it ensures that even the most classic of pieces comes with a touch of sensual tactility.
A perforated detail on the leather, the aforementioned see-through shirt or the scoop of the neck on a shirt: all spoke to the flesh underneath in the most tasteful, stylish, possible way.