The invitationcharcoal-gray with a line of red
stitchingestablished the parameters of
Véronique Nichanian's new collection for
Hermès. "Burgundy and gray are a classic
combination," she pointed out after the show. That
didn't quite tell the whole story, though, for the
designer was quick to add, "But I like to focus on
something more creative." In other words, her real
goal was to see if she could transcend the strictures
of her self-imposed palette.
Certainly, her use of the house's signature luxe fabrics livened things up. It's a wonder what crocodile can do for an item as overexposed as a blouson, especially in red. Likewise, gray lambskin turned a topcoat into an object of desire. But if the skins were the showpieces, gray flannel was the foundation. As the umpteenth outfit in cloud, lead, or charcoal made its way down the catwalk, the conclusion was inescapable: Gray flannel simply doesn't sing.
Still, the designer amped the volume up a little with the newly trim silhouette, or by throwing a jacket over a black cashmere V-neck for a look that flirted with being sexy. And fortunately, she had all those reds to play with. Jeans in vermilion velvet practically vibrated. A red sweater over a garnet turtleneck was more sober but equally welcome. And Nichanian's printsparticularly the wild horses galloping across a silk shirtoffered further relief from the gray parade.