Grilled on the thought processes that guide her so smoothly through the subtle but impressive evolution of Hermès menswear, Véronique Nichanian said she starts each season with colors. For Fall 2013, she's not alone in going dark, black and navy. Maybe it was the navy that triggered the collection's interest in coats. It's the shade of trenches and peacoats, after all, and naturally, Nichanian showed them, (with big silver ex libris buttons) before moving on to equally classic double-breasted topcoats.

Nichanian is on a roll at Hermès. The brand was made for the formal sportswear that is one of this season's banners, and she's had so much time to perfect the concept that she could probably design it in her sleep. At least that's how easily she injects a casual physicality into some of the most extravagant stuffs a designer could ever wish to have access to. That's why navy crocodile came as a cardigan in this collection, and a pullover in mink handily reversed to cashmere flannel. The same no-big-deal attitude was responsible for a barathea tux worn not with some white-tie froufrou but with a simple striped, silk turtleneck. And Nichanian offered the season's easiest take on the ascendant suit: an unstructured jacket and track pants in navy cashmere. The pants were tucked into sober black hiking boots, the designer's most significant footwear proposal for the new season, but their laces were bright yellow, and that throwaway detail somehow caught the easy flair of Nichanian's Hermès.