Every brand tries to capture the zeitgeist, even more so for those in the fleeting fashion industry. In April this year, Gucci and Balenciaga “hacked” each other’s brands while just a few weeks ago, Fendi and Versace revealed its “swapped” collection. Both were collaborations, of course, but their respective communications teams insisted on using the aforementioned monikers.
So, Veronique Nichanian is a refreshing palate cleanser. The artistic director has been at the centre of the Hermes menswear universe for a long time – 33 years, an eternity in a world where three-year tenures are the norm. She has nurtured the Maison’s growth – Hermes has posted increasing revenues since 2007 with only a slight beat last year for obvious reasons – while steering clear of trends that come and go. But, that’s not to say that she has stuck to her design guns. Rather, she innovates in a manner that is only possible if one has decades of experience.
For example, she doesn’t denounce streetwear, which was all the range with luxury fashion brands not too long ago, but adopts certain sensibilities while still maintaining tailoring codes, like the side-striped joggers paired appropriately with a similar blouson jacket (below) from the autumn/winter 2021 menswear show.
The theme of collision and merger, or telescopage, continues in the other pieces in the Hermes autumn/winter 2021 collection. There are three-button suit jackets, cut voluminously for freedom of movement, while still keeping a certain sense of professionalism.
There are work shirts given a playful twist with colourful prints and graphics. The sneakers are a cheerful panacea to the doom and gloom that pervades society today, with apt tonal names “cumin, glycin, H red, and frost blue”.
Nichanian might not be a fashion rockstar in the current sense of the word, but she has never been one to crave the spotlight, preferring to let her work – all 33 years of it – do the talking. Hacking? Swapping? Collaboration? Nichanian has already been doing it, just on her own terms.