When the lights went down for the Hermès show at La Maison de la Radio, the audience gazed over artfully lit trees, skyscrapers and a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. Creative director Véronique Nichanian had imagined a fall lineup that was, in her own words, “a stroll in the city.”
An opening trio of asphalt gray Prince of Wales suits was indeed urbane. They heralded a collection that captured the polished mood on men’s runways with refined yet relaxed outfits that even included a couple of sweatshirts — though being Hermès, they were made of luxe leather.
Nichanian has the world’s most extravagant materials at her fingertips: double-faced cashmere, Scottish plaid madras wool, baby lamb and glossy calfskin, to name just a few. But there was nothing stuffy about how she deployed them.
Unlined blazers in double-faced cashmere or double-faced wool were worn over sweaters, while a lime-colored cashmere scarf popped out against a navy pin-striped suit. A shawl-collared jacket in bronze sheepskin was perforated and embroidered in patterns reminiscent of Fair Isle knits.
Shirts, when they appeared, were worn solo, the better to show off their curved graphic panels — a design by artist Richard Gorman that also appears on Hermès silk squares.
Nichanian took subtle cues from athleticwear with trousers featuring a contrasting stripe on the inner leg, though with a muted palette of plum, navy, taupe and gray, these could barely be glimpsed. Ditto the black cutouts on wide navy pants.
The streetwear reference was more explicit, with a sweatshirt made from plum chiffon crocodile, or black jogging pants in shorn mink — if the streets were paved with gold, that is.