The Hermès man goes nocturnal
“Now we want to be dressed more sexy for the evening,” says Véronique Nichanian—the visionary behind Hermès’s menswear universe—of her AW23 collection.
Before Hermès became the luxury powerhouse it is today—known for its elegantly understated take on silk scarves, highly sought-after handbags and menswear that’s classic (but never boring)—the French house crafted artisanal leather saddlery.
Today, leather remains the brand’s hero matière. Every season, Véronique Nichanian presents pants, coats and handmade shoes in the most sumptuous cuts of calfskin, sheepskin, deerskin and the butteriest suede. Leather is the essence of luxury, but it also leads a thrilling double life as a material with subcultural ties, particularly among the nightclub contingent. Leather is sexy. And this season, it was the material’s after-dark persona which inspired the creative director of Hermès’s menswear universe to take things in a slightly more seductive direction.
Before you go clutching your pearls, allow us to assure you: this was a quintessentially Hermès take on sexiness, so no, there were no particularly risqué pieces on show. What transpired instead was a collection full of inherently wearable looks, made up of pieces that could be mixed and matched; “they feel at liberty to strike up playful conversations between pieces,” explains the designer of this season’s Hermès’s men collection. “To combine them, to juxtapose lengths, to alternate volumes.”
Certainly, this collection felt like a wardrobe, not a procession of individual looks that shared only loose resemblances. Its nocturnal edge was captured in black leather pants with silver chains swinging from the waistband, necklaces crafted from braided leather and a single earring in white gold and diamonds—this is Hermès, remember—aptly titled the Chaîne d’ancre Chaos Fancy. Though the runway was brightly lit, the men walking down it were most definitely en route to a late night dinner at one of Paris’ most fashionable haunts.
But as Nichanian explained, this sexier way of dressing isn’t limited to the evening hours. Why, after years of dressing in “light comfortable jogging” gear, should we deprive ourselves of stepping into something more sensual—like blousons with ribbing in deerskin detail, topped off with a stack of necklaces in pink gold—in the day?
Sumptuous, cosy, complete. This outing, which marks the beginning of Véronique Nichanian’s 35th year at the house—she joined Hermès in 1988, and is the longest-serving creative director in menswear—contained something that will delight every iteration of the Hermès’s man, which is precisely what Nichanian herself delights in doing.
“I used to say, ‘there’s not one kind of Hermès man, but many Hermès men’,” she told GQ in 2019. “I’m not the kind to say, ‘I want them young and skinny.’ I love all men, and I want to make clothes for all of them, clothes they can put in their lives to make them more charming—that’s it.”