Hermès Men’s Spring Collection 2021

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The soothing lineup was interrupted only by a short blast of Primal Scream’s energetic rendition of “Rocks.”

Véronique Nichanian offered an airy lineup of crisp cotton shirts, relaxed trousers and easy knits for summer — soothingly elevated but not lofty.

With production limited amid lockdowns, there were 21 looks. Hermès presented them in an online film meant to capture the intimacy, action and mounting excitement that precede a fashion show. “It’s a form of response to the question, ‘How do we rethink, react and create in this new context?’” the film’s director Cyril Teste said in the show notes.

Set in the modern glass and concrete space of the house’s Pantin workshops in the north of Paris, Teste kicks off the film by sending a model down a glass elevator and takes the audience winding through a sprawling backstage setting. Starting with Nichanian — who is busy adjusting the layers on a model — the film shifts between cameramen, models, Teste, Nichanian, assistants and sound people. Swept up in the action, one might forget to ask why no one’s wearing a face mask.

A piano soundtrack and accompanying percussions keep an active rhythm, interrupted only once by a short blast of Primal Scream’s energetic rendition of “Rocks” — the music playing on headphones worn by one of the models. He’s dressed in various shades of grey, drawstring trousers paired with a collarless white shirt and loosely cut, crinkly suit jacket, leaning against a blank wall.

The lineup was elegant, with ultra-light suit jackets in pale blues, trimly cut and delicately striped — just three buttons — and layered over cotton shirts. There was a healthy dose of nonchalant cool in the form of loose trousers with the occasional pleat or gathered with drawstring waists, zipped shirts, hoodies, knit tops and ultra-light bomber jackets and Windbreakers.

The tightly focused palette — muted grays, white, pale blue and patches of fluorescent yellow — relayed a certain purity, while a sprinkling of the house’s mainstay, accessories, livened things up — pendants, a Slim d’Hermès watch, roped belts and beautiful leather sandals.

“I’d like a zoom-in on the bag,” Nichanian’s says at one point, and the audience catches a glimpse of the canvas and leather Haut à Courroies Cargo bag.

She turns to the next model. “Here, push up your sleeves a little bit — very nice, the fluorescent detail,” she adds, sounding upbeat.

Bridging the physical-digital divide, the house dispatched an army of handsome young men in crisp white shirts to deliver a bag of baked goodies — granola, fruit tarts, rhubarb compote — to editors viewing the film on screens at home.

As the industry navigates a vastly changed world and hits the reset button with this digital season, Nichanian struck it right, bringing a welcome lift, as fashion should, while keeping it unpretentious.