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How Hermes and menswear creative director Veronique Nichanian forge their own path

We look back again at the Hermes spring/summer 2021 menswear show and pick out our favourites.

One of my favourite scenes of all time is from the 2006 dystopian film Children of Men. It happens halfway through the film and is a single-shot four-minute sequence of the protagonists being ambushed on a backwater road.

I was reminded of this scene while watching the Hermes spring/summer 2021 men’s presentation, which was presented to the world during lockdown last year. Sure, there wasn’t an angry mob and a flaming car, but the technical expertise and coordination required to pull off the Hermes livestream was similar. If you haven’t had the chance to watch the show, you can view it below.

I’ve always loved Hermes and its vision. One of the rare maisons that is still family owned – it famously beat away Bernard Arnault when he tried to forcibly take over the brand in 2010 – Hermes doesn’t see itself as a luxury brand. Instead, it has always referred to itself as a purveyor of luxury goods, or as I like to say, dream makers.

This approach has allowed the maison’s creative directors to unchain themselves from trends and follow the beat of their own drums instead. This is most apparent with Veronique Nichanian, who has overseen menswear since 1988. Her past creations are never obsolete; many designers throw out the word timeless to describe their creations, Nichanian’s collections whisper that adjective without having to mention it at all.

Hermes creative director Veronique Nichanian (left) with Cyril Teste.

Hermes creative director Veronique Nichanian (left) with Cyril Teste.

(Related: Hermes’ latest men’s fragrance combines nature and technology)

She’s also undoubtedly marvellous in her job. You don’t get to be the Hermes menswear creative director for over 30 years on just fluff and flash. Interestingly enough, Nichanian once shared in an FT interview that she never looks through the archives for inspiration. “I don’t look back. I don’t look back because they were brilliant and very talented to create these things, but I try to express my time. I think now is a great opportunity to express new things with new materials and technologies,” she said in the interview.

And indeed, there are new materials and technologies in the spring/summer 2021 collection. I highlight five of my favourites below.

  • It looks like a normal pullover from far, but come closer and you’ll see the pieces of leather in between the beautiful almond-green ribbing. And those storm blue trousers? They’re water-repellent, perfect for Singapore.
    It looks like a normal pullover from far, but come closer and you’ll see the pieces of leather in between the beautiful almond-green ribbing. And those storm blue trousers? They’re water-repellent, perfect for Singapore.