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.
For any confirmation of what the Hermès Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection will look like, stay tuned for the show this Saturday. And for an even closer look at the collection, follow @esquiresg on Instagram as we bring you the action live from Paris Fashion Week Men's.
What: Hermès Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear runway show
Where: Paris, France
When: Saturday, 20 January 2024 at 10pm Singapore time
Storied French luxury house Hermès has always believed in an artisan-first model, where the make of the hand is central to every facet of its business. Artistry is not only played out in its sought-after creations but also in how they’re showcased.
For the house’s latest window display at the Hermès Liat Towers boutique, South Korean artist Hansol Kim was invited to create his own interpretation of the Hermès 2023 theme “Astonishing Hermès!”. The London-based installation artist’s works continuously explore the relationship between humans, clothing and spaces, often deploying used clothing as their foundations. The creation of “Unique, Universal and Unity” afforded Kim to use leathers and fabrics from Hermès. He was then given complete freedom to turn them into the works that now inhabit the windows.
The materials from Hermès have been turned into eclectic patchworks of fantastical beasts and humanoid forms. Inspired by hybridisation and hyper culture—where information is available at dazzling speeds because of a digitally connected society—the installations are puzzling and well, fittingly astonishing. Each creature is unique and embody a different form and spirit altogether. They are designed in such a way that invites the viewer to decipher their make. Kim used a range of items that cross cultures and time periods, incorporating pieces such as 16th-century knee high boots, traditional Korean socks as well as balloon sleeves. And of course, the creatures are seen with Hermès’ very own objects ranging from ready-to-wear to its creations for the home.
As these creatures seemingly make their way through a singular destination (wherever that may be), they traverse a confounding backdrop where the sea, land and sky merge, and through their own unique ways of mobility—some are fitted with wheels, skis, and even kayak paddles. They may be stationary but Kim invites everyone to dream up their very own narrative of an imaginary world.
Or at the very least, be in complete awe at the installations and the level of craftsmanship that went into each character.
“Unique, Universal and Unity” is on display at Hermès Liat Towers until 28 November 2023.
It's not that there's nothing sexy about Hermès; there's nothing explicitly or brashly so about the storied luxury house. For spring/summer 2024, longtime artistic director Véronique Nichanian pushed the limits of what we know of Hermès with a play on summer sensuality by way of layered contrasts and lots of skin.
There's an architectural element to the spring/summer 2024 menswear collection that's reflected in the staging of the show. Nichanian intended the clothes to act as architecture, from which the body became the foundation.
Models appeared from behind openwork screens resembling the graph-like fabrics that ran rampant throughout the collection. Lightweight—and at times, translucent—fabrications were layered atop of each while modestly revealing skin, especially in the collection's lighter hues.
But what was the most surprising element of the show were the shorts. Nichanian opted for shorts with inseams that couldn't be longer than five inches. It's quite possibly the shortest that Hermès has ever gone when it comes to the length of shorts. It's hardly anything to complain about given the heatwave we've been experiencing, but for Hermès, it's quite a big deal.
The fit: With the short shorts, the revealing of skin was still done tastefully—the Hermès way. The shorts were crafted from a range of cotton blends as well as technical fabrics. They were designed with elasticated waistbands that still featured belt loops for an elevated look and for the added style option of wearing one with a belt (or two as they're styled).
The entire spring/summer 2024 menswear collection felt free in a sense that nothing felt constricted. Silhouettes consisted of roomy cut shirts and blousons with trousers that range from slim- (but not excessively so) to wide-cut that were all elasticised at the waist.
The details: The opening look included a Haut à Courroies bag that was treated as though it's been weathered out in the sun. A slight imprint of the bag's lock, clochette as well as its flaps were done in a subtle tonal variation—a beautiful rendition to a classic icon.
The collection's double étrivière belts—essentially fitted with buckles that resemble stirrups—were some of the more inspired elements in the collection. They're connected in the middle by a chain that added some edge, and recalls the more punk-esque autumn/winter 2023 menswear collection presented earlier this year.
Three exceptional looks: Look 6's easy, summer fit that featured the collection's shorts as well as a crinkled blazer topped off with a roped tote bag; look 25's option of layering pretty much the same outfit as in look 6, with a deliciously oversized shortened parka; and look 46's knit-layering masterclass.
The takeaway: Showing off skin tastefully is an art.
View the full Hermès spring/summer 2024 collection in the gallery below.