This season’s highpoint are shirts with sailboat stitching and Bermuda shorts with drawstring waist
This season’s highpoint are shirts with sailboat stitching and Bermuda shorts with drawstring waist

Fashion: A sartorial solution to extraordinary times

Véronique Nichanian redefines the codes of post-pandemic menswear with a first-of-its kind augmented Hermès Spring 2022 showcase
By Manish MishraManish Mishra
PUBLISHED ON JUL 11, 2021 08:47 AM IST

Trust Hermès to set a precise and palate-cleansing precedent for a post-Covid-19 closet! Superimpose freewheeling weightlessness with sartorial freedom and you have aptly summed up the label’s men’s artistic director Véronique Nichanian’s Spring 2022 collection showcased recently.

Reflecting the unbridled joy of the great outdoors, she rooted for an empirically chic closet which hits the sweet spot between technical innovation and craftwork legacy.  

“The collection is an expression of grace, fluidity, and the shifting nature of our lives. It also has a touch of the spirit of sailing as well, as in a response to our need to get away. It aims to encourage people to get out and roam - a desire we all share,” she says.

As an unanticipated turn of events often fuels one’s creative juices, the designer reinvented her approach to the design and presentation formats.

Crafted with punctilious execution in collaboration with the theatre director Cyril Teste (who also designed the set) for the third time now, the augmented show got off to a vibrant start with models wreaking a multi-sensory assault on several screens of varying sizes, thus offering the audience a panoramic view of the detail and movement.

What made this presentation unique was the fact that each model was filmed in a unique, individualistic style. Drawing on the architecture of the Mobilier National building, the venue of the Hermès show, there was an attempt to echo French architect Auguste Perret’s work through a precise approach to symmetry, geometry and perspective.

Nichanian has a clarified aesthetic and instinctual design prowess with grace and fluidity
Nichanian has a clarified aesthetic and instinctual design prowess with grace and fluidity

True savoir faire

Over the years, the designer has refined and redefined the French savoir faire through her powerful take on menswear. This season, she extrapolated forms in trompe-l’œil: overshirts, double jacket-cardigans, coats and parkas in two materials.

Reversible parkas and straight blousons had a delightful conversation with straight coats and hooded zipped sweatshirts. The highpoint were the shirts with sailboat stitching and Bermuda shorts with drawstring waist in metis goatskin.

An array of round neck pullovers, T-shirts with Tunisian collars and cashmere shirts with floral puzzle motifs gave the outing a sense of totality, with multiple options to mix and match. Separates realised in neutral hues like hemp, algae, chocolate were offset by cheery yellow and luscious lettuce green. Pendants in palladium metal and enamel and double tour bracelets in braided Swift calfskin along with belts in rope and snap hooks clasp tied nonchalantly around the waist lent gravitas to each ensemble. It was hard not to be transfixed by the Hermès H 08 watches, high top sneakers in canvas and ankle boots in suede goatskin, all adding to a chic finish.  

Celebrating the storied house’s unsparing eye for detail, precision and exactitude, the line-up was a glowing metaphor for Nichanian’s clarified aesthetic and instinctual design prowess, where she toyed with grace and fluidity and thus offered a sartorial solution to these extraordinary times. All in all, a free, languid approach to tailoring and layering.

Manish Mishra is a content creator and style podcaster with HT Smartcast

From HT Brunch, July 11, 2021

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