Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Hermès unveils its spring 2021 menswear via performance art



The house of Hermès kicked off the Continent’s first purely digital fashion week on Sunday with a low-key performance art video of its spring 2021 menswear collection. 

In effect, the film was a pretend photo séance for the look-book of the collection, backed up by soulful piano music.

Entitled Hors Champs – or Behind the Scenes in English – it was a real life backstage preparation moment directed by Cyril Teste, and featured appearances by Hermès long-time men’s designer Veronique Nichanian.

“J’aimerais bien faire un travelling autour du miroir,” instructed the video’s director as the cameraman swooped around four models and a large standing mirror.

It all captured what Nichanian does best – understated elegance for gents in materials that just waft of class. All made in shades of Mediterranean blue, gravel and almond.

Micro-collar, three-button linen sacks suits; charming striped cotton poplin shirts; putty-hued cable knit sweaters all worn by fresh-faced and hirsute models. All uber effortless, from patch-pocket pants to the zippered blouson shirts. The whole event climaxed with a pair of magnificent abstract print silk shirts.

“It’s a reduced collection because we didn’t have access to the means of production,” explained Nichanian in a program note, after showing just 18 looks in eight minutes.

The show debuted after almost two weeks of online collections in Paris and Milan, as the pandemic forced the fashion industry to cancel live runway shows and replace them with videos, most of them pre-recorded – such as this one from Hermès. 

The French three-day haute couture season begins on Monday, July 6 – 33 online shows and events, starting with Schiaparelli. Though, curiously, Hermès jumped ahead of the official five-day menswear season in Paris, which does not begin until Thursday, July 9.

Chez Hermès, several of the cast descended in a glass elevator into the showroom, located inside the venerable house’s central Paris design studio.

“I’d like to see us highlight the details of the pullover,” insisted Nichanian at one point, standing beside a pair of handsome lotharios. The camera also focused on the latest version of the new Slim d’Hermès wristwatch.

“This is the fruit of the meeting of two sensibilities. A response to the question: how do you think, react and create in this new context? More that fabricating an event, what we wanted to put together was a meeting, born around work and necessity,” added Teste.

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