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Hermes Poised Polyvalence

Godfrey Deeny
June 27th, 2010 @ 00:35 AM - Paris

A whole theme of multifunctional clothes is wafting through the current menswear season in Paris, which was apparent on the runway of the spring 2011 collection by Hermes presented Saturday, June 26, in the Grand Palais.

On the runway of Hermes menswear designer Veronique Nichanian, we witnessed hyper elegant cotton shirts, that thanks to a zipper and a great technical finish could be worn either as classy shirt or a gentlemanly modernist jacket on a steamy sunny day. Or take her mini check shirt jackets, great for a summer shower, chic in a hotel lobby.

“Lightness and polyvalence,” smiled Nichanian, in between TV interviews, post show.

The collection also welcomed the return of the Hermes Pegasus, the ancient Greek winger horse, which reared across maroon silk shirts worn with flowing second-skin suede pants. A fresh look, suggestive both of a hip billionaire and yet also old money. Pegasus soared too on a dazzling white shirt, a collector’s item look, and timely culturally seeing as mythology greatest steed has just made a comeback in the recent remake of “Clash of the Titans,” albeit in black, rather the classic white.

Continuing a colonial revival trend from Milan, Hermes showed sandals and espadrilles with rope stripes, double belt faded copper leather belts and twisted silver bracelets, all very unfussy luxury.

To her considerable credit, Nichanian is a key component in the continuing success story of Hermes, which scored an 18 percent rise in sales to $650 million in the latest quarter. In that period, she feted the opening of a special Madison Avenue men’s boutique townhouse, underlining the brand’s belief in her talent.

Her most popular look was a dashing, and finely buffed, curly haired model in just a pajama bottoms and sandals, carrying a weekend bag out of which hung a cashmere jersey. This Adonis literally brought gasps out of a score of women in the audience – the ultimate compliment in a real sense.

Another idea certain to be popular next spring were the madras checks featured in windbreakers in triple layers of technical gauze, once again multifunctional looks, ideal in lots of social or professional situations, cleverly blurring the line between the two.

Hermes already had reputation as the best destination for classy clothes for cool gents. This show will only enhance that standing.

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