Hermès Spring 2023 Menswear

Asked whether after 33 years in her position as the prime female designer of menswear in luxury she shapes her vision of men through a female gaze, Véronique Nichanian demurred. “Not at all,” she said: “I just try to propose things that make them more charming. I don’t judge the man… c’est une proposition tendre.”

We were in the Manufacture des Gobelins, where the models walked a cobbled runway which inadvertently echoed the central motif of the collection. That was a hazy irregular grid—a distorted check or tattersall—that Nichanian said was meant to reflect the tiles at the bottom of a swimming pool when looked at through a distorting prism of water. Over the decades moss had grown around the runway cobbles, distorting their grid too.

In her time Nichanian has seen the codified structures of menswear bend, collapse and distort. She reflected this, tenderly and with sympathy, in designs that blended the bended parameters of dressing today. This was a summer collection, hence the literal solar knitwear and marine life prints of seahorses and crayfish. House iconography—certainties to rally around—were expressed via Pegasus reliefs and house patches, something as close to logo dressing as I have ever seen here, on crisp informal jackets. Deconstructed jackets were teamed with schoolboy shorts, wide-legged, mid-calf and inherently naive. Sandals in canvas-edged neoprene and sneakers strafed with color provided unpretentiously unorthodox foundations for the looks built above.

There was great luxury in a lilac crocodile blouson, say, or the specially-commissioned masculine Birkins gridded with that distorted check, but also great practicality and empathy too. Difficult colors—apricot, lilac, raspberry—were blended through layering into harmonic balance via the gentle collision of sports and formal archetypes. Crisp suiting in pajama light cotton was delivered with pants discreetly elasticated beneath the skirt of the jacket. When the rules have been bent and distorted by a new lens of context, you can only adapt—with tenderness.

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https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2023-menswear/hermes, Vogue

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