Frenchwoman Veronique Nichanian, the artistic director for Hermes, stands out in the fashion world as one of the only women to create men’s styles.
That she has been doing it for 26 years is another rarity.
“I always feel the same anxiety,” she admitted ahead of her catwalk show Saturday in Paris. “But the enthusiasm is always solid,” she told AFP with a smile.
She says Hermes’s then boss Jean-Louis Dumas told her when he tapped her in 1988: “Manage this like your little enterprise. You have carte blanche.”
Nichanian was previously with Nino Cerruti, who had hired her straight out of design school.
The diminutive designer says she had to “work harder” and “be determined” as a woman in a man’s world and was “pretty proud” of her longevity.
“It was a pretty macho milieu and the men didn’t expect a woman to tell them what to do,” she recalls.
Nichanian came into the work “by chance, at first. Then I discovered a rigour in men’s fashion, as a person who is not a fan of unnecessary details.”
The 50-something designer said she had wanted to work in fashion since she was an adolescent, noting that while her parents were not in the business they were “very elegant people”.
She described the “discreet chic” of her father of Armenian origin, and how her mother and grandmother had Hermes handbags and scarves.
The elegant brunette with sparkling eyes said she draws inspiration from myriad sources