For 31 years, the designer has led the menswear “universe” with discreet, luxurious designs. Her astonishing success is in her honesty.
Véronique Nichanian, the artistic director of Hermès’ grandly titled “men’s universe”, sighs with quiet exasperation when it is brought up. “For many years, I hate this word of luxury, because it does not mean anything,” she says. Her accent, like the one in her name, is both acute and French, so hate becomes ’ate, suggesting she somehow devours luxury, consuming it like fast food – another category that has co-opted the phrase. “Everybody does luxury. Small leather [goods], it’s luxury. They put a logo, it’s luxury. This word is too much. We are doing quality things and beautiful things. What is luxury today? It is just to be deeply honest in what you’re doing.”