Hermès’ SS22 menswear show was a detail-oriented ode to sailing away
Véronique Nichanian’s SS22 collection for Hermès looked to sailing and duality as a means of escaping the land of lockdown.
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Hermès. Air-mez. Just saying it is a sigh of relief, a flight of French fanciness. There is fashion, and then there is Hermès. For its latest SS22 menswear show in Paris, the French house upheld its reputation as the most soothing form of luxury known to humankind. This season, its creative director of menswear, Véronique Nichanian, designed a collection as “an expression of grace, fluidity, and the shifting nature of our lives” — and she did so by exploring hybrids and contrasts, titling the collection ‘Double-Jeu’ (translation: Double Game). Think of all the juxtapositions we’ve come to know far too well: indoors/outdoors, casual/formal, introverted/extroverted, stay-at-home/leave-the-front-door.
Returning to the Auguste Perret-designed stone courtyard of the Mobilier National in Paris, the show even had a live audience, but still offered a personalised experience for those of us watching from home. It marked Véronique’s third collaboration with theater director Cyril Teste, who created a mirror-box collage of angles through which the show was recorded and transmitted to the world (see, filmed fashion shows needn’t be boring), and that meant every single look could be seen from multiple angles.
Hermès is about tactility, you need to see it to really pick up on the details. Forget just seeing it, sometimes you have to touch it to believe it. “In a fashion show, the human connection is irreplaceable; seeing people wearing the clothes is what breathes life into them,” Véronique explained. “It’s an essential experience that shines a light on each person’s approach to what they wear.”
This collection had plenty to offer by way of how to wear clothes. Slouchy Bermuda shorts with knotted rope belts, silk blousons with delicately perforated horse motifs, hinting at the skin beneath and only half tucked-in. Cotton T-shirts with suede necklines under papery windbreakers. Layers of techy cotton canvas and Tunisian-collar shirts, zip-up fastenings left undone. Croc-suede jackets worn over rolled-up chinos. The perfect pleated wide-leg trousers, worn with simple sandals or lace-up sneakers. There were even jolts of brightness and joy, like a mouliné cashmere twinset in bright fruit salad sweetie orange and pink.
The overall look may sound, or indeed look, simple — the individual pieces, though, are anything but. Every single piece is ornate and interesting, yet it’s all styled together with ease. For designers, that kind of effortless elegance is often the Holy Grail of design. Hard to achieve, even rarer to witness — albeit from behind a screen.