January 18, 2014 Paris
Her show tonight opened with eveningwear, a reversal of tradition but an appropriate introduction to a collection that was darker and in some ways more formal than usual. The show notes listed colors like khaki and English green, but on the catwalk, almost everything played as charcoal gray. Even the shirt in Hermès silk—there's always at least one in every collection as a nod to heritage—was overdyed so that the green was just a memory. "It's more urban," said Nichanian. "These are clothes for traveling in the city." An angular tone-on-tone motif indeed invoked a low-key urban mood. So did, in its sinister little way, the tone-on-tone embroidered spider weaving a web on the shoulder of a cashmere sweater.
The designer talked about "playing with technology." She needle-punched the lapels of coats in wool or cashmere with leather ("phantom leather," she called it), and wove wool and neoprene together to create a new technical fabric for trousers. One of the most beautiful pieces in the collection was a double-breasted evening jacket in a khaki silk/wool blend so deep it was practically black. It had the finest ribbing, which gave it an almost rubbery texture. Maybe that wasn't so much technology as plain old craftsmanship…perish the thought, there is no such thing as plain in the world of Hermès.