Papery leather, sherbet colors and lovingly cut tailoring met at the latest expression of modernist gentlemanly attire that is Hermès under the direction of Veronique Nichanian.
The runways of Europe have been overcrowded with parkas this season, yet nobody quite makes them with the levity and ease of Nichanian – who opened her show with a glazed khaki parka in a parchment like calfskin, pairing it with raspberry red pants – a hue favored by one notorious Celtic front-row editor – all topped by a chunky, Mumbai print scarf, worn in the twirling, attention seeking manner that only the French really pull off. The same raspberry employed in a crew neck paired subsequently with a pale Prussian gray topcoat with patch pockets. They were the epitome of what this house stands for – quiet elegance – yet with just enough panache in silhouette and styling to make one that tad envious of whoever could afford to wear these clever clothes.
Most looks were anchored by snazzy new sneakers – done in contrasting hues of burgundy, pacific blue, turquoise and the house’s signature orange. Again they were posh and preppy but still a tiny bit punchy – the aesthetic that sets this designer apart from her rivals.
Staged amid tight security in the Maison de la Radio – the curving metallic monument of late 50s French architecture that once seemed futurist and now just quaint – this was a moment of grace in a hectic and dank Paris Saturday. Grace, but with guts – seen in the all-back finale, notably the flawless woven silk suits and dramatic double face cashmere coat – that, well, reeked of very rich, but not at all nouveau.
“Textures, fabrics, dissonant colors and pure, pure black,” smiled the designer after the show, ever self-assured, always charming.