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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Paris Men's Week: Hermès

It smelled liked horses, thoroughbreds of course, at the old refectory of the Cordelier convent, which had been transformed for the Hermès show with a pressed-earth floor. A dedicated team of men with these big green roller devices was on hand to constantly repress the floor until the models arrived.

Imagine your entire spring '10 wardrobe cast in tone-on-tone shades of leafy greens and dusty browns, like the color of shade under a big tree on a scorching day. Véronique Nichanian worked such a palette of natural hues, from verdigris and taupe verging on olive drab to apple and various bronzed browns. This gave the clothes an aged patina, as though they'd been plucked from an old photograph—which isn't to say there was anything retro here.

A blazer in solid taupe seersucker just looked like an interestingly wrinkled jacket rather than that old prep classic in blue and white pinstripes. All the pants had rolled cuffs. Calfskin shirt jackets and super-soft trench coats were practically cut with a scalpel. And the linen suit looked perfectly blasé. Sleeveless cardigans paired with sleeveless silk T-shirts over roomy trousers, or boxy Bermudas, were in such perfect French taste that one was tempted to ask, What ever happened to vulgarity? The answer is: Hermès just doesn't ever do that. Standouts were a chunky sailor-knot sweater in tart green and a windbreaker in paper-thin calfskin, as soft as a glove.

—Rebecca Voight

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