Despite the chatter about the Hermès Men’s Spring-Summer 2023 show being a very literal homage to the season (suns and seahorses and beach critters adorning the clothing), or the lightness and accessibility of the ready-to-wear itself, what I saw last week in the presentation was best exemplified by the runway Haut À Courroies carried down the runway: a large bag, a seemingly-utilitarian man’s bag – a bag which, in fact, has become iconographic of women’s fashion – adorned with wavy, incongruent lines which also somehow did not distort the appearance of the bag but merely enhanced and delineated its dimensions.
So too, looking over the menswear, I was struck by the colors – pink, lavender, aqua, and yellow – which are not typical of traditional men’s clothing and which further were presented in very appealing profiles and cuts. While atypical, the colors and shapes only enhanced the ready-to-wear, delineating function or adding a genuine visual appeal. The masculine has become feminine, or at the very least, extremely versatile; finally, it is a nod to fashion’s existential compatibility (or sometimes, notoriously, its incompatibility) with practicality and general appeal.
In short, Hermès knows its customers, and it seems to have noticed that no longer do we stick to one department: many women buy from the men’s department, and vice-versa; further if one is to wear color at all, we are no longer tied to particular palettes (or bag, sizes, for that matter). The colors, while definitely visually eye-catching (please please please let these colors be translated to the leather goods!) didn’t seem costumey or out of place. The result was a men’s collection that further blurs the line between menswear and womenswear, with everyone clamoring for a little bit of both (as hopeful an expression of equality of the sexes if ever there was one).
And with that, a few notes:
Bags were huge in the show, both literally and figuratively: the HACs (40cm? 50cm?); a giant lime Bolide emblazoned with studs in the shape of a heart; a supersized Garden Party, apparently meant to carry the entire garden; and other totes, whether for the beach or travel, which appeared large enough to carry everything one would need (is this new dimension a glimpse of what’s to come for the women?).
Again, color, color, color dominated the runway (well, dominated the cobblestone street, but I digress…)
Accessories seemed minimal, but most of note were the woven leather belts reminiscent of preppy fashion, tied like we used to in the 80s with the end hanging down, and a further iteration of the Dad sandal in a neoprene summer version.