Véronique Nichanian, men's designer for Hermès, recently departed some style knowledge to Esquire. Nichanian talks essential items for every man's wardrobe, Hermès' made-to-measure program, and every man's biggest misconception of style.
Read the interview below:
Esquire.com: How has the customer changed since you began your career at Hermès?
Véronique Nichanian: Today, men are more and more confident and dare to express themselves with their clothing. I've learned that men have to be in harmony with themselves to choose their style. It's really about personality.
ESQ: What's the biggest misconception that men have about dressing themselves?
VN: When people think they have to follow trends, or fashion in general. They have to free themselves from any fashion dictate.
ESQ: What are the three items every man should have in his closet?
VN: A black cashmere sweater, a gray flannel suit, and a white poplin shirt. But a fourth would be an amazing leather piece — like a jacket, for instance.
ESQ: Tell us a little bit about the Hermès made-to-measure and bespoke programs.
VN: Customers can come and speak with a tailor about the fit they like. Then the customer will be able to choose from 5,000 fabrics and have a suit made to their individual specifications. It takes 30 measurements and 70 to 80 hours of work in the atelier to have a suit made. What's special about Hermès, though, is that you can also ask for custom leather and knit pieces, too. We can even create something in a specific color at a customer's request.
ESQ: How do you, as a woman, approach designing for men?
VN: Being a man or a woman isn't the point. It really depends on one's own personality and sensitivity. After all, we speak the same language and live the same way. I mean, would you ask this of all these men that design for women ?
ESQ: What advice do you have for men today, in terms of dressing?
VN: Trust yourself... and be smart and charming.
ESQ: And finally: your thoughts on the future of men's-wear?
VN: I think that there's is a lot to be done, still.