Shown in the high-security UNESCO building January 24, Véronique Nichanian presented Hermès’ collection that sent models out in more subtle pieces that had attendees wondering if it was necessary at all to present as a show. Then a nubuck crocodile coat displayed itself, and such doubts ceased. Present in many minds was that this iconic French name continues against all logic to do well in profits during this recession. The traditional Hermès man will forever continue to wear his uniform colours (navy and charcoal) and would rather be caught naked on the streets than to dare wear the wrong tie. Yet Nichanian has made a mark in the luxury world with her own twists. She added accent colours to this collection with tomato red and acid yellow, which popped out in a cabled turtleneck, gabardine trousers, and as a sparkle of nylon in a raincoat and a voluminous parka. Whatever the twist, it was shown in conjunction with something much more sober, like a charcoal double-breasted suit. This collection was a little baby step towards the road to a more animated image of the Hermès man.
Available at Hermès Toronto, 130 Bloor Street West, (416) 968-8626.
Nicolas Ghesquière seems eager to make his collection one of the top lines in male fashion. This season’s menswear line from the legendary Balenciaga is sure to please fans of the label’s signature innovative style. The collection emphasizes strong, clearly defined silhouettes on heavily-constructed, architectural pieces. Suitably for winter, the line has several outerwear options, and utilizes a more muted colour palette on many, such as a dark olive quilted jacket and a gray wool topcoat with a tapered standing collar. As expected though, vibrant colours do pop up throughout to punctuate the collection with items, like their take on a yellow-accented letterman jacket and a pair of bright red pants. Ghesquière’s influences range from the elegant attire of British hunters to a vintage military look, which he masterfully brings to life with innovative patterns, cuts and juxtaposed materials. The finer details are always an important aspect of Balenciaga. Here, pockets are placed above the knees on the front of the pants, a modified pea coat has hidden buttons and a trench clasps in front with a built-in buckle. On numerous pieces, sleeves extend over the knuckles in a woven pattern that gives the clothing a stand-out, armour-like effect.
Available at Holt Renfrew, 50 Bloor Street West, (416) 922-2333.
maison martin margiela
Always creative with their shows, Maison Martin Margiela showed its collection in a series of police lineup scenes with New York voices straight from a detective show chanting the details of each outfit. It was a brilliant technique to get across the collection’s roots in the 70’s, another time of a faltering economy when New York was still a crime-ridden city and honest cops tried to clean up the streets. As expected, it was easy to spin a story out of a trench, a jacket, a zipped boot that were all treated to look rain-speckled. Leather jackets: one in shiny burgundy, another in a ten-pocketed tribute to the style of a former decade, were also worthy of the wardrobe of our honest policeman. The most interesting pieces in the collection were the things that applied themselves to a design challenge, like the coat whose excess folds of fabric gave it a genuinely interesting volume, or the jacket with a multi-layered shawl collar. The evening group was called “After-Party” and featured a shirt with a printed red wine stain.
Available at TNT Man, 368 Eglinton Avenue West, (416) 544-0002.