Hermès A/W 2019 Paris Fashion Week Men’s
Mood board: The notes to Véronique Nichanian’s latest collection opened with the words: ‘a sophisticated simplicity.’ She is always reassuringly confident and composed. Simplicity is what the house does well. The code of its menswear offering is daywear with smart, sincere flair. The finest textiles are teased to behave in surprising ways. A relaxed reserve. Tactility and tone. The invitation to the show was a fine deep-blue slice of card onto which the thinly etched type was barely visible. In its radical minimalism there is a serenity.
Best in show: Blousons were key – the jacket-cum-shirt style is an ideal piece for trans-seasonal dressing but also speaks to the merging of lives. The clashing of formality and frivolity, work and play. It is a style that sits in-between styles. Three button suits in quilted wool flannel felt fresh. Over-shirts had large curved stripes in rubberised lambskin and were lined in the house’s water-repellent Toilbright technical fabric in silver. Standout were the shearling pieces; a short double-breasted black bomber with nubby collar and a longer contrasted style. The tailoring to trousers was relaxed and wide with a single-pleat and cotton gabardine tab. A pair in patinated calfskin took on the look and attitude of a chino.
Scene setting: The show was staged at the Mobilier National – a bureau responsible for the administration of all furniture and objects in the royal residences since 1870. Today, under the supervision of the French Ministry of Culture, it continues to manage furniture belonging to the state and has amassed an impressive collection of icons of French design. Guests sat amongst row upon row of industrial orange and blue shelving, on which was placed furniture once owned by France’s heads of state. From baroque console tables to a 1960s metal chair by Olivier Mourgue, or a large Pierre Paulin desk from 1985 that belonged to Francois Mitterrand, the display brought to mind the respect that France has for beautiful things. Nichanian’s straightforward elegance was right at home. §