Véronique Nichanian

by Ian Lee
For over 30 years, she has been the woman behind impeccably dressed men. The artistic director for Hermès reveals her travel must-haves, and what ladies lap up from the house’s men’s department

People have always made a fuss about you being a woman who designs menswear. What do you make of that?

I am always surprised. I talk about a sensibility and a feeling. I don't look at men with judgement or project my thoughts on them. It is not Superman I am dressing.


Where do you draw inspiration from?

I travel a lot. [When I am] in big cities – like Hong Kong, Singapore and Paris – I get inspired by architecture, modern art, and the way each city is built. They give me energy and keep me passionate. And I think they reflect modernity in life.

Speaking of travel, the season is upon us. What are your essentials?

A black cashmere sweater, one or two dresses for outings with the husband at night, and my jeans.


Other designers are increasingly talking about casual dressing. Has your approach to design changed at all?

Not at all. I've designed pieces that are casual chic since the beginning. For a long time, my approach has been to create things that are casual yet sophisticated. This year, for the Spring/Summer collection, I began to include streetwear elements. Perhaps that is why people get the sense that I did something different.

"My definition of chic is about the soul, heart and personality. It's the way you move, and about the age and the body."

What have been recurring themes in your work?

Freedom, passion, and the idea that everything is possible. I like casual things and leather – it helps that Hermès is a leather house and everyone wants to work with us. In the end, I'm not doing fashion. I'm doing something that is more of style. It's a modern way of dressing a man. I hate the idea of consumption. I like the idea of keeping a quality item for a long time.


What's your definition of chic then?

It's about the soul, heart and personality. It's the way you move, and about the age and the body. I like when people start mixing [different elements]. Many years ago, when Mick Jagger wore sneakers with a suit for his wedding, people were shocked. But now, it is normal.

Véronique Nichanian portrait photography Patrick Swirc All other photos courtesy of Hermès.

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