Ready to leave the pandemic behind and embrace hope, joy — and some darn good vacations? So is Veronique Nichanian, the artistic director of Hermes’s men’s universe, as suggested by her latest designs for the brand’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection, which was shown last week at the Manufacture de Gobelins, a historic tapestry factory in Paris.
Colourful, sharp and yet relaxed — a defining characteristic of Nichanian’s style — the collection was inspired, explains the show’s accompanying press release, by “a bright, vibrant summer; the joy of being together. The holiday spirit, a magic destination both joyous and serene.” It is a collection that will have you looking forward to your upcoming/next vacation — as well as the eventual arrival of the SS23 pieces in stores early next year. Here is what we are looking forward to the most.
01: Beachy colours on unusual textures
Lemonade, lagoon, bubblegum and melon: These are words that conjure images of delightfully lazy holidays by the sea. They are also some of the highlight colours in the Hermes SS23 collection. But make no mistake, it’s not about dyeing basic pieces in these vibrant tones, but creating compelling contrasts with unusual, tactile textures: Several hooded parkas and blousons, for example, look like they are made of PVC, but are actually a lightweight technical satin. Cheerful hues also brighten up knit pieces with graphic patterns. And perhaps unsurprisingly for a house synonymous with leather, lemonade yellow gives an alligator blouson some summery effervescence.
02: Playful graphics
When it comes to clothing, Hermes is sparing with its use of graphics — and when it does use them, you can bet they’re going to be really good. While they are more literal than we usually see at the brand, the marine theme-evoking, large seahorses and crayfish that are emblazoned on cotton tanks and popover shirts, or woven into knits, are cheerfully irresistible. For more familiar creatures in the Hermes world, Nichanian also included shirt-jackets with house motifs such as Pegasus (in a detailed illustration) and horses (on applied patches).
(Related: An iconic bag inspires sparkling ideas)
03: Optical illusions
When the SS23 collection finally arrives in stores, get set to confuse onlookers with Hermes’s distorted checks. Apparently, the irregular pattern is meant to “reflect the tiles at the bottom of a swimming pool when looked at through a distorting prism of water”. Grid lines slope off to the side when you expect them to be straight, making this a print that sets pieces apart from your average check shirt. It’s even found on Birkin bags that were specially created for the collection. Another playful touch for SS23: Pockets that are shifted ever so slightly so that they either look like they have migrated upwards, or tilted diagonally so they appear out of place — in the best way — against stitched, intersecting straight lines.