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Girls may rule the world, but Hermès heeded not the warrior calls of Beyoncé but rather the croons of James Brown for the third installment of their “A Man’s World.” Last Friday night, for one evening only, the French heritage brand staged a XY-chromosome universe in Miami’s Design District that transformed the 1921 Moore Building into a playpen of all things masculin.
Roves of male models, donned in lime linen suits and other vestments from Spring 2013’s La Vie Sportif collection, roamed the three-story space like an Eton-cast version of “The Outsiders;” each floor held a vignette for the pursuit of leisure, where guests hopped into the ring, literally, to box against themselves, scribble cryptic messages in steamy locker room wall, and even lose themselves in an “house of mirrors” dressing room puzzle. As ever, boys like their toys.
But Brown warned that it would mean nothing without a woman — and Hermès agrees. For 21 years, their men’s’ artistic director has been Veronique Nichanian, whose playful-yet-punchy, timeless-yet-trend-setting aesthetic has guided the urban dandy through the sartorial maze of effortless chic. In essence, she is Hermès, “there are so many years of freedom, you can do whatever you want,” she offered in her heavily French-inflected tone, and trust, her husband is the most spoiled man in Paris.
For this go-around in the creative swirls of her mind Nichanian pulled in a co-conspirator: Leandro Erlich, the Argentine multi-media artist whose love of the uncanny provided a mind-bending lens to the “A Man’s World” backdrop. Erlich, who notes that Hermès’ distinct characteristic is its discretion, imbued the sets with just that — suit racks that seemingly went on for infinity, mirrored floors that gave the illusion of great depth, parallel bedroom tableaus of seeming identicalness, all while incorporating Nichanian’s designs without ostentation or gimmick.
Their collaborative spirit, on the other hand, was anything but subdued. Rumor has it they met while treading water after their cruise ship sank in the Caribbean. Is it true, or just another faux semblant wrapped up in the mysterious world of Hermès? Pick up the Whitewall’s winter 2014 issue to find out.