Saturday 23rd January

| BY Claudia Croft

Hermès: Menswear AW21

“Our approach to clothing is currently undergoing a transformation, and my job is to come up with propositions.” So says the woman who has overseen Hermès menswear collections since 1988. Véronique Nichanian has the luxury of the long view. She has seen trends come and go, but she’s never had to design for a pandemic. It’s made her rethink strict sartorial boundaries. “I wanted to defy categorisation, erase conventional limits, and build connections between families of clothing that tend to be separated.”

You don’t have to choose between casual and elegant. At Hermès they co-exist. Beautifully. Comfort suppleness relaxation inform everything from a high collared quilted coat to a patch pocket jacket or tailored trousers with drawstring waists. Technical canvas and baby lambskin live side-by-side at Hermès – the engineered and the natural together. This mix of comfort, luxury, craft and technical excellence is how Nichanian sees the post-pandemic world. To show it off she once again collaborated with celebrated director Cyril Teste who devised a vertical visual experience, set around August Perez’s minimalist masterpiece of a staircase at the Mobilier National in Paris.

The camera offered several perspectives of models’ playful interactions on their way up or down. The mood – like the space – was light and bright. “I want to believe in a form of optimism and pleasure indistinguishable from the creative spirit, and that is what this collection sets out to show,” said the designer. She certainly understands the simple pleasure of getting dressed.

Photography by Filippo Fior.