Saturday afternoon, the sun streamed through a cloud-filled sky above the Mobilier National in Paris. Due to pandemic precautions, the location of the Hermès show wasn’t filled with as many spectators as usual but all were ebullient at the idea of being “back at work” and taking their seats at a real, live fashion show. Sitting facing large screens–the set was the third collaboration with Hermès men ready-to-wear designer Véronique Nichanian and theater designer Cyril Teste—guests would soon enjoy an augmented show merging digital and live. “The human connection is irreplaceable,” stated the designer.
Nichanian could be seen peeking out from atop the staircase with anticipation overlooking where the models would soon exit. “There she is!” exclaimed Hermès nose Christine Nagel, her voice filled with admiration for her long-standing colleague. Nichanian, who has led the men’s collections since 1988, never seems to be out of ideas.
For Hermès Spring 2022, Nichanian conceived a casual menswear collection that came to life with texture and color. “Lightness, relaxation, and freedom,” stated the show notes. Indeed, all looked à propos to be packed into an overnight bag, thrown into the back of a Peugeot 504 coupé, and taken for a spin through the streets of any French village. It is no surprise that following over a year of lockdowns, the world is anticipating the simple pleasures, like enjoying al fresco nights together, unmasked.
Nichanian interwove different fabrics, fusing toilbright and cotton, accented with satins and silks, stitched graphics to leather, and offered double jacket-cardigans, coats, and parkas in two materials. Nothing was rigid, but rather lightweight shapes moved freely with the men and the wind. Color, a signature par excellence of the house, appeared in celadon-green, chocolate brown, joyful yellow, faded rose, and stone-gray. All seemed lifted from the earth’s foundations and accented with flowers: daisy patterns could be seen on sweaters and shirts. Along with elegant pleated slacks with tapered ankles, Bermuda shorts made an appearance adding to the liberated mood that nonetheless remained precise. Both were accessorized with rope belts that reminded of a day— rain or shine—amid the gentle sway of a boat’s sails. A graceful shift, bringing the outside mood in.