It could be seen as churlish to level an accusation of dullness against a presentation that paraded a black crocodile biker jacket or a black leather suit down its catwalk, but Véronique Nichanian's consistent delivery of sharp, subtle, sexy menswear collections under the Hermès label has created a level of expectation that wasn't met by her latest offering. Nichanian has successfully deconstructed bourgeois dress codes to locate a seductive ease in deluxe dressing. Some of that lingered in shoes shown sock-less, or tie-less formalwear. Still, there was a nagging sense that Nichanian had backpedaled a bit.
It may have been simply that the darkness and the sobriety of the clothes didn't loan themselves to the bells and whistles of showtime. One of the themes of the collection was "look-alikes," which promised that things mightn't be all they seemed. Perhaps that meant something like the suit with the sheen of mohair that was actually cut from a wool-cotton blend. In which case, look-alikes wasn't exactly the kind of dynamic notion that could kick-start the whole shebang. It would have worked better in a showroom.
But in the end, such reservations are completely meaningless. Hermès has, after all, always been one of those collections that come alive in the intimate relationship between cloth and customer, and there'll be plenty of relating when these outfits hit stores next season.