Hermes’ SS21 menswear collection just walked the runway in Paris, except in place of the usual 300-strong audience, the presentation happened to a virtual audience of millions across social media and digital live-streams.
This move was in line with Paris’ digital-first approach to staging the menswear and haute couture fashion weeks as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But while the world outside may feel foreign in a year defined by turmoil and getting used to the new normal, the atmosphere inside the show space radiated positivity and hope.
“Our work is the outcome of our encounter, and expresses our two sensibilities. It’s a sort of response to the question: how to think, react, and create in this new context”, says Cyril Teste, who was tasked with presenting the collection through a performance. Staged to mimic the fast-paced and buzzy energy of a studio space being used to photograph the collection, models took precise stage directions as the camera tracked each character through the room.
Ditching the fashion show format also allowed us to get a closer look at the details that would normally escape us as a runway show. We saw relaxed blousons and beautifully tailored suits in pale blue and pistachio, as well as elasticated trousers and calfskin sport bags for that perfectly lived-in look.
“This collection is smaller than usual because we were cut off from our usual means of production”, Veronique Nichanian – artistic director of the house’s menswear line – said in a press statement after the show. “I also selected eighteen silhouettes where I normally select around forty.”
To help you set your expectations before the collection launches next year (when we can hopefully begin to look forward to a post-Covid world), here are our 5 key takeaways from the show.
01 | Have fun with layering
Layering in our hot weather? If you’re following Hermes’ playbook, it is possible. Working with ultralight materials, shirts are worn one over the other for an effortlessly put-together outfit. Experiment with different sleeve length combinations, or bring a patterned piece into the mix.
02 | Tailoring goes soft
We’re all for stiff and sleek lines, but sometimes, you just want to breathe a little. Enter the soft suitings that Nichanian is deftly working in airy shades of pastel blue, grey or inky teal.
03 | Yes, neon colours can be classy too
No, this isn’t a rave party. The introduction of neon yellow in small, controlled doses helps add a sportier riff to a collection that is otherwise filled with soft shades of almond and pistachio. Nichanian works it in via the facing of a sporty overcoat, or a minimalist belt.
04 | Artsy prints aren’t going anywhere
Over the years, we’ve come to rely on Hermes for their beautifully-printed silk scarves, where patterns and motifs come alive in bright colours palettes. This effect is brought over into the menswear collection, where an abstract pattern is painted in creamy tones of sky blue and yellow, or a deep navy. There’s also a minty green shirt in a fresh take on the classic checkerboard pattern.
05 | The dress codes continue to blur
One of the things that Hermes gets right season after season is in their code-less approach to menswear. In recognising that the modern-day go-getter has to be at several places in a day, the designs reflect this changing pace likewise. Look to a sporty neon yellow shirt worn with a tailored pair of trousers for a gym-to-work look, or a reversed look consisting of a pristine white shirt worn underneath a printed tee and tucked into elasticated pants that seamlessly takes you from work day into the weekend.