Esquire Examines: Hermès AW24 Menswear

Injecting contemporary nuances with traditional motifs and fabrications, artistic director Véronique Nichanian imagined an Hermès man primed for the journey ahead
Published: 25 January 2024

Unlike most other brands, Hermès always does things a little differently. While it's become common practice for brands to furnish fashion editors and journalists with a list of celebrities who will be attending their shows (we've sadly all become glorified paparazzis), Hermès does nothing of the sort. In fact, I attempted to press the Hermès Singapore team multiple times so that I can be prepared for who to look out for before the Hermès Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear show for soundbites and general content, but they maintained that they themselves had no clue.

But there they were. A sizeable number of celebrities—both established and up-and-coming—entered the Palais d'Iena to a runway show audience that was mingling with pre-show drinks in hand. James Marsden walked in wearing a suit over a white turtleneck. And from the corner of my eye, in an outfit from Hermès' Spring/Summer 2022 menswear collection, was Swedish singer-actor Omar Rudberg of Young Royals—he paired the look expertly with a statement Hermès necklace and a bag with matching hardware. Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski rocked up in a shearling jacket with leather details, young Danish actors Alex Høgh Andersen and Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen (known for Vikings and 1899 respectively) arrived together, The White Lotus' Leo Woodall was there too, and so was Luka Sabbat. I'm sure I've missed out a number of other celebrities but Hermès was very low-key about it.

The younger famous faces at the front row perhaps seemed like a calculated move. Does a venerable brand like Hermès need the awareness of a younger generation? Arguably, every brand could. Yet, the very spirit of the House is one that's irreverently playful and artistic director Véronique Nichanian has always channeled that into every collection. If anything, the appearance of these young faces could further help communicate the true nature of Hermès, one that's even more apparent in its Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection.

The fit: Right off the bat, it felt like as though the Hermès Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection was inspired by a rather British sensibility with the use of Prince of Wales checks and argyle knits. The styling seemed to have carried over some of the influences of the punk-inspired Autumn/Winter 2023 menswear collection. Yet, the overarching theme of the collection was simply one of versatility and paradox. The merging of traditional menswear with non-traditional fabrications, timeless motifs rendered anew, and a decidedly contemporary take on the familiar.

It was evident from the trousers in the collection. They were cut slimmer than ever while tops remained oversized. Jackets (a number of them reversible) were slightly cropped, but not too much—just enough to be a modern update. The argyle motifs were spliced and reconstructed with other colours and patterns, while waterproof gum canvas were cut into functional layers with its translucent nature affording multiple ways of styling and wear. Layering was a focus with sleeveless elements (a definite buy for this side of the equator) either worn on their own or layered over a multitude of other lighter layers.

The highlight for me though were the calfskin ensembles that were paraded towards the end. I initially thought that they were ponyhair pieces owed to the incredible sheen, but at the collection's re-see the very next day, it was revealed that they were polished calfskin. Fashioned into a number of outerwear, suiting and even a stunning vest, they were beautiful examples of Hermès craftsmanship and that spirit of playfulness.

The details: Nichanian has a knack for styling every facet from the Hermès menswear universe into one cohesive look without ever making it feel too much. Jewellery for Autumn/Winter 2024 were simple and effective. A personal favourite were the pebble-shaped necklaces in palladium and wrapped with a bit of leather for a chic statement that doesn't shout. Silk scarves turned into snoods with a reversible plain leather side, and ties echoed the Prince of Wales check suiting but rendered in fine topstitching.

But of course, the bags were what I'm certain everyone had their eyes on. I adored the Hermès Équipier pouches that were designed to fit comfortably on bicycle bars and fitted with multiple zipped compartments. The Fouree-Tout Étrivère—essentially an oversized holdall—was crafted with a sturdy top panel where its top handle is attached to while the bottom half is made of more supple leather that gave it a beautiful shape when carried using its shoulder strap. And the classic Haut à Courroies was given an appliqué treatment with leathers of different finishes for a more rugged appeal.

Three exceptional looks: Look 11's play on layers that's especially visible thanks to the gum canvas turtleneck; Look 34's simple monochromatic ensemble of a leather jacket with slim-cut trousers; and the closing look that should be worn to an awards show pretty soon.

The takeaway: You don't need to design wide-cut trousers to be relevant and cool; a contemporary aesthetic is more than just about being trendy.

View the full Hermès Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection in the gallery below.

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