June 27, 2008
All you needed to do to take the temperature of the Hermès show was check the shoes: espadrilles and sandals. The Hermès man was on holiday. There were more swimsuits than ties on the catwalk (and of the four ties shown, two were cotton. So much for the signature silks that the French business establishment favors). But Véronique Nichanian has been leading this label away from its conservative connotations for ages now. The easiness of her latest looks was a consummation of the casual luxe she's turned into her signature. A suit casually worn over a sweater (no shirt) was about as formal as she got. For evening, she suggested a collarless white linen shirt with midnight-blue pants (no jacket). The formal note was struck by the cummerbund. Nichanian's striped, loose drawstring trousers took on board Spring 2009's appetite for pajamas. The tie-dyed touches added a soupcon of the season's ethnic trend. But all this seeming effortlessness aside, it simply wouldn't be Hermès if there wasn't a gob-smacking skin of some kind. No, not the gray lambskin that made a peacoat. I'm talking about the nubucked crocodile, which appeared as a zipped sweatshirt.