The Hermès silhouette evolves
It was among the modernist architecture of the HQ of the Mobilier National, built by Auguste Perret in the gardens of Paris' Manufacture des Gobelins in 1936, that Hermès chose to present its menswear collection for Fall/Winter 2019-20. As explained by creative director Véronique Nichanian, the idea was to give "a sense of common values and shared skills."
Nichanian had therefore selected a series of furniture pieces, mixing styles as diverse as Louis XV chairs and Pierre Paulin's avant-garde designs of the 1970s, which she displayed in the centre of one of the building's gigantic storage rooms, a space which usually houses the furniture collections of France's official residences but which, on Saturday night, played host to the Hermès runway show. Indeed, this singularly masculine architectural environment in reinforced concrete, filled with different styles of furniture, seemed like the ideal backdrop for the Hermès man dreamed up for this winter to strut his stuff.
For he's a naturally classy and subtly sophisticated gent, who doesn't know the meaning of bad taste. Everything on the runway was of an apparent simplicity, further underlined this season by a pallet dominated by dark shades of navy, midnight blue, anthracite and black, and straight, precision cutting. Underlying all of this was the essence of Hermès luxury, evident in the superb high-quality materials, among which leather was pride of place.
From the patinated calfskin trousers in a range of colors to the waxed lambskin overshirts with wide stripes, via the jackets with ribbed hems in the same ultra-soft leather or the raincoat-like trenches in waxed canvas, the pieces were as simple as they were expensive-looking and desirable. Take for example, the deerskin coats with large removable shearling collars in red or dark blue, and the black sheepskin bomber jackets.
Slim and self-assured in his black boots, leather jackets and nonchalant suits worn over sweaters, the man that Véronique Nichanian has imagined for next winter has acquired a new confidence. The lines feel more undulating, the trousers wider, while the jackets have been elongated.
"It's a new silhouette which is a bit less street. It's simple but more sophisticated and classy. The collection is no longer targeting a particular age group or body type. It's just a question of attitude. For me, the important thing is the kind of sensibility that a man shows," the designer explained.
The dark collection was lit up here and there by flashes of colour –saffron, violet, turquoise, red – but above all by judicious use of spangles, which appeared surreptitiously on the edge of a cuff, the lapel of a jacket or the lining of a silvery puffer jacket.
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