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5 Things to Know About Hermès’s Convention-Defying FW21 Menswear Show

For her post-lockdown proposal, Véronique Nichanian imagined an Hermès men’s collection that disobeyed old dress codes and united wardrobe genres.

Photo: Filippo Fior / Courtesy of Hermès

Hermès predicted our post-confinement wardrobe

One of the only good things to come out of fashion’s last year in confinement might be a new, intelligent wardrobe. In a virtual presentation from the Mobilier National – where she has often hosted her Hermès runway shows – Véronique Nichanian staged a study of what that wardrobe might look and feel like. “In the ’30s, [the building’s designer Auguste] Perret invented a kind of no-frills architecture, a purity of line in concrete and wood,” she said, in conversation with the filmmaker Cyril Teste, who created the performance. “It is the perfect space in which to conjure up a certain idea of our time, and the newfound fluidity, thanks to which one can now easily bridge worlds and behaviors that tended, before now, to be mutually exclusive.”

Photo: Filippo Fior / Courtesy of Hermès

The collection was based on the 2020 evolution

If her thoughts were complex, it’s because Nichanian was summing up all the debates and upheavals through which we’ve collectively evolved over the past year, from human rights and equality movements to calls for freedom of identity, and – of course – the physical limitations that have generated new lifestyles and needs. “The inside and the outside now freely flow one into one another, as do the personal and the public, the private and the professional. I wanted my clothes to reflect that,” the Hermès men’s designer said.

Photo: Filippo Fior / Courtesy of Hermès

The wardrobe defied and united conventional dress codes

Nichanian’s philosophy was reflected in a live presentation that saw models running around the Mobilier National interacting with each other before emerging from the building, back into the real world – a dream that could become reality by the time this collection hits stores. They were dressed in clothes that defied traditional dress codes but united genres all the same, fusing the properties of formal wardrobes with those of the great outdoors, and injecting that fusion with elements of sportswear. Above all, garments were roomy, fluid, made for movement. Sure, you could wear them to a Zoom meeting, but these clothes really called for a world on the move.

Photo: Filippo Fior / Courtesy of Hermès

Hermès is perfect for 2021

“I wanted to defy categorisation, erase conventional limits, and build connections between families of clothing that tend to be separated,” Nichanian said. “At a time when lifestyles are changing, we have been seeing new customs flourish. Our approach to clothing, now of utmost importance, is currently undergoing a transformation, and my job is to come up with propositions.” As the keeper of the magical kingdom of Hermès – possibly the most timeless house in the world – her proposal was crucial. Coming out of confinement crisis mode, we are enriched with newfound patience for selecting and investing in quality and longevity, rather than the quick shopping fix of our former lives.

Photo: Filippo Fior / Courtesy of Hermès

Hermès will return to traditional runway shows

In a reality that still feels very far away from the future Nichanian was teasing, her interacting models and outdoor scenarios provided a form of rational escapism, if that’s not a total oxymoron. (Needless to say, the house noted that every required safety measure had been taken.) “Naturally, we are all keen on returning as quickly as possible to the irreplaceable warmth and fellowship of a fashion show with a live audience,” Nichanian said. “But in the meantime, we need imagination to fortify our patience.”

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