“A manifesto of prints,” the Hermès show notes trumpeted, somewhat disingenuously. Véronique Nichanian’s latest collection was another demonstration of calm and quiet chic — the reassuring kind impervious to the overstatement one might expect from large-scale scribbles and paint strokes, which appeared on everything from breezy trenchcoats and capes to pull-on pants.
The opening look — a crisp, one-button cotton suit in tan — set the tone, the effortless tailoring and neutral palette calming the abstract printed shirt underneath.
To be sure, the fancy pants were new and unexpected — jogging-style chinos in blurred botanical prints or those big squiggles and splotches. They were occasionally paired with cotton voile shirts in bandana prints, but always in the same color story, and therefore hardly jarring.
What came to the fore was the sumptuous fabrics: immaculate cotton poplin, serge and gabardine for shirts, blousons and blazers, plus tissue-weight suedes and lambskin that gave straight-line bombers the ease of a camp shirt.
Forgetting the obligatory crocodile item, here a hoodie in a deep bottle green, Nichanian showed considerable restraint, employing gauzy fabrics and only the occasional flash of color — a pumpkin orange belt here, a glimpse of a teal green shirt there.
Cardigans are not exactly the freshest idea out there. But then it dawns on you: Nichanian’s are knitted from nubuck lambskin, a proclamation of understated luxury if there ever was one.