“Mais-toi bien au centre, s’il-te-plaît,” scenographer Cyril Teste, Hermès artistic collaborator could be heard directing before coming into focus on the screen. The Hermès Men’s Spring 2021 show, by creative director Véronique Nichanian, offered global online viewers today an unprecedented look inside the expansive Hermès headquarters just outside of Paris and a grappling of the great manpower, including Teste, and personal touch required to create a luxury fashion collection. While we may be in the eye of the storm of the digital age, and certainly the Hermès livestream gave access to the numerous cameras, wires, and computer manipulations required to broadcast such a performance, the creation of luxury fashion will remain very much hands-on and a place of high craft.
It was almost poetic to witness the attention to detail as Nichanian smoothed the soft shoulder of a button-down shirt. This collection is casual, crafted with cottons and linens, and with only one single-breasted stone-colored suit to be seen throughout the collection. Pants featured drawstrings and even elastic waists. Cropped at the ankle, they were partnered with leather sandals that suggested a stroll to the beach and also a quick dip into an office. With sleeves rolled up, hands in pockets, attention was drawn to the hues that were neutral and soothing—various iterations of blues and creams. They were punctuated with neon brights—optimistic yellow, lining coats or offering an assured flash around the waist. Outerwear was lightweight, easy, and functional, featuring protective hoods, and a few zips, but nothing overly utilitarian; these are jackets meant to be thrown on to grab an espresso, not to rule the world. While the show kept a pace, there was a direct reference to time via the apparition of a classic, round-faced Slim d’Hermès timepiece, but also to an oversized weekend bag that begged to be packed for a trip anywhere.
In one frame, showcasing a knit sweater with button collar and white trousers, a model appeared to look with melancholy outside, in the same manner one might contemplate the sea and its horizon, before returning his attention inward in a show of art imitating life. The final frame featured two looks with shirts, one canary yellow, one gray-blue, artfully featuring horses graphically outlined in motion. Though this collection is titled “Hors Champ,” which can loosely translate to as being out of the ordinary, the last looks seemed to imply that we will gallop on. As Nichanian raised her hands to salute her creative colleagues, the credits for the entire team—from the cameramen to the first assistant and the original music (by Emmanuel Jessua)—were displayed. As out of the ordinary as things may seem, everyone can and will come through it together.
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