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Monday, April 15, 2024

Many shades of minerals mode, and short shorts

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In a season all about quiet luxury, it was instructive to attend a show by Hermès, to witness the latest aesthetic expression by the quietest brand of them all.
 

Hermès Spring/Summer 2024 – Hermès

The response from its menswear designer Véronique Nichanian – seen in this spring/summer 2024 collection – to the current obsession with prestigious understatement, was to mute the mood even further.
 
Her entire color palette was multiple minerals – stone, granite, and even a dash of light malachite. While the show backdrop was a pale steel grid wall inside Palais Jena, Auguste Perret’s monumental meeting of art deco and 1930s rationalism.

Her big idea this season was transparency – seen in chrysoberyl-colored technical fabric blazers, silvery silk double-breasted, or moonstone-hued nylon jackets. They were all entirely deconstructed, and largely transparent, even a version in techy seersucker. With each time worn over soft mineral hued T-shirts and tops with notched and sailors’ collars.
 
They all looked great. And a remarkable achievement by Nichanian to get some of the world’s wealthiest gents to happily embrace an historically common material like nylon.
 
Though the sun was beaming outside on Saturday in Paris, Nichanian sent out a good half dozen examples of wet weather gear; the coolest of which were several iridescent parkas made in manganese pink.
 
Despite creating for a brand known for its obsession with discreet design, Nichanian is no conservative when it comes to codes. She opened with wide mesh tops and shirts, playing on the backdrop. And had a model carry and open mesh tote, the better to notice the silk shirt and towel inside. 
 
There was a slight dash of fashion militarism with techy parkas, finished outback rider-style with diagonal pockets.
 
“Alors, we’ve seen transparency, lightness, full summer, and superposition of volumes and materials. A desire for a cooling breeze and a soft palette that matches the light materials. I wanted them to look almost like chalk,” beamed the diminutive designer.
 
Besides, trousers cut off at the ankle, she showed mini shorts, showing acres of thigh. “Yes, very short, because guys have great legs too. But I still have yet to embrace skirts for guys!” 
 
It says a lot about the desire for quiet luxe that American basketball stars have begun showing up at Hermès, where they sat beside actor Sam Worthington. His most dashing role was as Perseus in Clash of the Titans, where he rode the winged stallion Pegasus. Which makes him a Hermès natural, one would have thought.
 
The collection also marked the return of classical Hermès prints to Véronique’s menswear after a longish hiatus. Seen in some great big totes with images of saddles, crops and riding helmets – that will be sure-fired commercial hits. Everything accessorized with silver, and never gold, respecting the color palette.
 
All told, a highly pure statement of quiet luxury, albeit reined in by that very understatement, and hence lacking in any true drama. A very fine collection, but a faintly somnolent show.
 

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