Unveiled in a steamy Palais d’Iéna in Paris, Véronique Nichanian’s spring/summer 2024 Hèrmes menswear collection was infused with undeniable sex appeal, says Vogue’s fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen. Read on for his takeaways from the show.
It was hot
“I hope it wasn’t too hot?” Véronique Nichanian smiled before we sat down to dinner post-show. She was referring to her steamy Palais d’Iena venue, which had reached greenhouse levels in the scorching Paris summer heat, but she might as well have been talking about a collection that turned up the sex appeal on Hèrmes’s otherwise oh so subtle sophistication. “I had in mind a soft summer breeze,” the designer said of the lightweight, translucent garments, which felt more than appropriate in this current city climate.
It was innate sex appeal
Apart from the transparency and the short shorts, none of Nichanian’s proposals ticked the traditional, obvious boxes of sexy dressing. Yet every line she cut and every garment she layered—in a collection, which, on paper, was all about summer elegance—felt infused with an instinctive, inherent charm and seduction that’s not always easy to convey in a luxe, somewhat formal wardrobe founded in savoir-faire. This was a sex appeal that came from within the maison: the innate sex appeal of Hèrmes.
It continued the season’s focus on elegance
In a men’s season that has continued to amplify a focus on elegance that’s replacing the casual-core to which we’ve grown accustomed, sex appeal perhaps hasn’t taken centre stage in designer proposals. But if we want to pique the interest of a new generation raised on sex and body positivity in classic sartorial codes, the seduction value plays a key role. It was an astute observation on Nichanian’s part, and one she conveyed with the utmost sophistication. You weren’t just seduced by the aesthetic, but by the garments themselves.
It was effortlessly fluid
Backstage, Nichanian was asked if her seductive sensibility had borrowed from the women’s wardrobe. “Women have always borrowed from the men’s wardrobe. I think it’s cool that men also borrow from the women’s wardrobe. I find it very playful and interesting on a creative level. It broadens the playground!” she observed. If her collection drew on a certain fluidity, it was more of a natural expression of the way even the professional and formal men’s wardrobes now naturally integrate an elegant, more feminine sensuality.
It was all about the HACs
If the Hèrmes collection proposed a new sex appeal, its essence took physical form in the voluminous Haut à Courroies bags and rigid, robust net bags that never looked more casual or more effortless than in this collection. With the arrival of Pharrell Williams—who famously carried a pink crocodile Haut à Courroies in his formative fashion days and put amplified luxury bags at the forefront of his Louis Vuitton show on Tuesday—on the Paris men’s scene, the bag is fast becoming the ultimately erogenous accessory in the men’s wardrobe—as demonstrated so flawlessly by Nichanian, too.
This article was originally published on British Vogue.