For an index of the sea change the luxury market is weathering, look no further than Hermès, where designer Véronique Nichanian is steering the menswear collection into a subtly steamy mind-set. If, after all this time, the name still makes you think of something slightly bourgeois, maybe even formal, think again. There wasn't a tie in sight, nor even a collarthere weren't even that many shirts. In their place, Nichanian offered sweaters with deep V-necks, or a cardigan worn over bare skin. When she did show a shirt, it might be sheer, or feature a tuxedo style with a see-through bib, so there was still a hint of skin on display. The preppy made his latest appearance of the season in madras checks and seersucker, but Kennebunkport never looked this good.
Nichanian has a knack for choosing a startling accent color for each new collection. Here it was something she called "aniseed," an intense, chartreuselike green that shaded everything from suede jacket to swimsuit to shirt (memorably paired with a suit in chocolate silk/linen). And the leather piece of the season? A big-pocketed blouson, two-toned in "clay and natural white."