- Don-Alvin Adegeest
Seven minutes of fashion film can be either gripping or tediously dim. As digital couture week confirmed, translating the craft of haute fashion to the medium of a short video is a whole other ballgame, one which does not necessarily do justice to a ballgown. Many houses failed to impress an audience used to seeing shows live, where garments on bodies, close up details of handicraft and a collective presentation experience add to the overall impression of a season.
But as physical presentations remain postponed until at least September, digital videos are here to stay. Hermès, for SS21 menswear, is perhaps the first luxury brand this week to truly capture a collection and audience without having to cross into the otherworldly (Dior), awkward dancing models (Chanel) or distracting themes (most other brands). A poetic seven minute film transports the viewer to Les Ateliers Hermès in Pantin, the company’s light-flushed headquarters on the outskirts of Paris, without elaborate staging or production sets, fluff or backstage drama.
Instead of venturing into brand marketing territory, Hermès created a live backstage experience where we see designer Véronique Nichanian working behind-the-scenes with her team, dressing models, as if pre-show prepping. The camera and technical crew is visible and audible, and the near one-take video gives the sense of it being live, panning in and out on garment details — a print over striped shirting here, a watch or sandal there — models nonchalantly waiting for their turn, texting their mates, taking selfies, or posing for cameras. The result is a poetic performance designed with the artistic collaboration of Cyril Teste and Collective MXM, where the clothes never become secondary or costume to another narrative.
Designing the collection in lockdown, Nichanian was keen for the clothes express lightness, simplicity and poetry. Here she proposes clean silhouettes for a timelessly casual look.
See the Hermès Men’s SS21 show here.
Images via Hermés