Véronique Nichanian is a weather vane. Her shows are a way to track menswear trends from the margins to the mainstream—by which, we mean the men who have money to spend but don't want to scare the horses with what they buy. Except, those men have clearly spread their wings. The collection Nichanian showed for Hermès today had a subtle edge, grounded in tech fabrics, and a slim, young feel that mirrored the general appetite for fresh flesh that the season has paraded. Canvas was the foundation fabric, but technical treatments meant it could look smooth and synthetic in a coat or as light and crumpled as linen in a jacket.
Speaking of canvas, Nichanian injected a subtle sailing subtext (perhaps as mindful of next year's America's Cup as Kim Jones was at Louis Vuitton the other day) with windbreakers, parkas, and a raincoat in "spinnaker canvas." And she picked up on the season's athletic undercurrent with baseball shirts, a suede-front sweatshirt, and T-shirts cut from the most luxurious materials in the company repertoire (chiffon crocodile, anyone?). Not quite throwaway, but this is as casual as croc is ever going to get. Conspicuously absent, however: the overload of shorts we've been seeing almost everywhere else.
Her use of color, on the other hand, was right in line. She either popped some hot shades, like an acidic absinthe green, citron, and pimento red, or she ran one cool tone top to toe. Examples of that were the Prussian blue suit and matching coat that opened the show or the midnight blue tux that closed it, with a poplin shirt in matching indigo. That utterly effortless-looking luxury is Nichanian's own contribution to the current fashion conversation.