PARIS - Hermes' Veronique Nichanian knows how to dress men.
The house's spring-summer 2013 show, set in a storied 18th-century stone cloister, was a devastatingly elegant affair.
The venue raised expectations that — luckily — weren't dashed in what was highly accomplished and colorful display.
Sexy fitted suits — single and double breasted — emphasized the shoulders but remained soft and unangular.
Meanwhile, high-waisted long-legged 1950s pants created a highly masculine silhouette.
Fashion is all about making statements.
Some designers are so busy trying to say something catchy that they forget the esthetic.
Here, this was not the case.
There was an emphasis on pure luxury: be it soft suede, silk or tuxedos with peaked lapels in mohair.
In colour, the elegance translated as a palette — terre vert, soft yellow, beige, and soft russet — that was wide-ranging but remained tonal and non-garish.
In case there was any doubt as to the masculine credentials of the show, sporty details like white sneakers, hoods, zippers and draw-strings brought home that this was soft, but highly virile.
What is the enduring secret for Hermes — one of 2011's most lucrative fashion brands?
As far as menswear goes, for Nichanian, it's simple: "I don't have any secrets. I just love men."
Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP