Véronique Nichanian delivered an upbeat collection for spring, defying the gloomy weather — and sprinkle of rain — with a lively offer for her first runway show since the onset of the pandemic.
She continued to push forward with her hybrid, indoor-outdoor thrust, proposing hooded parkas, two-toned jackets with patches of technical fabrics and leather overshirts. In a burst of optimism, a bold, thickly knit sweater came in gradations of tangerine and pink, while a button-up cardigan faded from gray to a bright turquoise.
“It aims to encourage people to get out and roam,” Nichanian said of the lineup, as quoted in the show notes. As the fashion world rushes to meet consumers stepping back into society, many are betting on louder, hyped-up propositions — club themes and psychedelic motifs abound. But then there’s Nichanian, who is steadily building a fresh repertoire for younger classes of luxury consumers — a bit more discreet, for sure, but nonetheless interesting.
The label’s playful side was relayed through the details, like the perforation delineating the house’s Quadriga horse-head motif on a shirt, zig-zag stitching — the kind you might see on a boat sail — running sideways on a windbreaker, and the zip-up blouson in a technical fabric, printed like a traditional silk scarf. In an understated nod to youth culture, the bottom of the Bolide bag was in the shape of a skateboard.
A new silhouette emerged, too, drawing on cropped jackets and high-water trousers, worn with canvas high-top sneakers, successfully channeling the famous nonchalant French attitude. Accessories included belts made of rope or technical knits, with hook clasps and “H” buckles, sandals and suede goatskin ankle boots, as well as bags in military canvas.
The house teamed for the third time with director Cyril Teste, who continued to bring fresh ideas to the evolving craft of fashion presentations. The partnership has proven successful for capturing the mood, relaying the excitement of a show through a screen when in-person events were not possible, and this time, offering a view on details that would be lost in a traditional show, thanks to movie theater-sized screens alongside the runway.
The show was held outdoors in the courtyard of a favorite Hermès show venue, France’s Mobilier National building, home to the state-owned furniture. Perched on boxy seats, the audience donned black rain capes by the label Rains.
“Unforeseen events stimulate creativity,” Nichanian said. “I had to reinvent my approach to designing and presenting clothes.”
Reinvention has indeed been a buzzword during this choppy period, and it’s clear the historic house approaches the concept with great care. But the role of experience feels equally relevant, especially when considering that Nichanian’s tenure stretches back to 1988, serving as a reminder that with disruption also comes the opportunity for the well-versed to shine.