Every fashion brand hopes for a heart stopping, edge-of-your-seat experience when it sends forth a catwalk collection, but Hermès has always been about quiet refinement rather than theatrics.
So when the French fashion house chose to show its autumn/winter 2018 collection in the cloisters of a 17th century monastery, the catwalk flanked by burning pyres whipped up by the winds, it made for an eerie, bewitching setting against an inky black Paris sky. Surely the models wouldn’t walk through that hellish corridor?
While the front row may have apprehensively covered their eyes with their Hermès cashmere blankets, walk through it they did (they don’t teach you that on America’s Next Top Model), gamely showcasing what is arguably some of the finest cashmere and leather in the world.
The collection itself segued from heavy-duty outerwear to plush cashmere and classic evening wear in lustrous silk jacquard.
Swaddling parkas, weighty shearlings and elongated rain macs were all rendered in the most exceptional fabrications; one coat that looked to be made from padded, technical fabric was actually leather, given a degraded effect in rich cinnamon – pure luxurious Hermès.
Menswear designer Veronique Nichanian infused the neutral world of Hermès with blasts of colour – neon pink and tomato red – and introduced a seemingly simplistic alpine scene via intarsia knits to sweaters (and, in one case, on suede), with inlaid panels making up the mountainscape like leather-craft marquetry.
The pattern parlayed onto oversized bags too, playful in Crayola brights but demonstrating the skill of the Hermès atelier and destined to act as carry-on arm candy for a private jet cabin. Better yet, by the time the last model had traversed the fiery assault course, not a thread of that fairy-fine cashmere had caught alight.
From pagan pyres to a cold, glacial Bladerunner set, Lanvin’s Lucas Ossendrijver created an ‘Enchanted Forest’ out of a thicket of spotlights on stands.
The (faint) connection was in the fragmented, digitalised camo print on a collection that – like so much of menswear today – focused on what to do with that most maligned of items, the suit.
Men aren’t wearing suits they way they used to, and designers from Milan to Paris – Ermenegildo Zegna’s Alessandro Sartori to Dior Homme’s Kris Van Assche – are tinkering with the tried-and-tested formula to find ways to make it modern.
Ossendrijver is a designer who has always used clothes themselves as the starting point for inspiration, with pinstriped fabric employed for cagoules and ponchos, and blazers deliberately skewiff and blown sideways.
There were also suit jacket/outwear hybrids – the body in pinstriped greys but in a bomber shape – and oversized knitted sweaters were off-kilter, one sleeve slashed off, or with an asymmetrical hem.
Ossendrijver is one of the most respected designers working in men’s fashion today, and his focus on the clothes themselves – a kind of meta fashion that doesn’t need outside influence – is what makes him so unique.
Repost via: The Telegraph