LFW S/S '11 report: Richard Nicoll

20 September 2010

Richard Nicoll had the foresight in Spring 2009 to corner a fashion market on the rise. As well as his mainline offering a non-stop conveyor belt of lust-worthy loveliness, he previewed a shirts line at the end of his catwalk. This was well before the BIG shirt boom that’s happening right now, a whole year and a half later. And no editor worth her salt will be seen without a shirt in at least one of their outfits this fashion week. For S/S’ 11 Nicoll wanted to tackle another territory that he’s left fairly untouched - eveningwear. We know there are catwalks that thrive on creating snazzy clothes-of-the-night (Matthew Williamson, Valentino, Pucci for example) but Nicoll, renowned for his sharp tailoring and minimalist aesthetic, hasn't really been one of them... until now. The genius part of it all, as you look through the collection, is that these 'gowns' would look just as brilliant during the day - belted up with a big cardigan and some clunky boots. But then, that’d be why Nicoll describes this as ‘intelligent occasion wear’. The LFW crowd could certainly pull it off – and with the amount of sheer maxi skirts we’ve spotted on people already, he’s certainly tapping into the right mood.
The catwalk vision was this:
One part sexy 1940s pin up girl (skin-tight pencil-skirts, hefty visible bras, cardies slung over shoulders and buttoned at the neck in the way your grandmother would, and slashes of soft flesh pink or nude stocking) and then one part 1970’s Angie & David Bowie (slips of maxi dresses, pleated organza galore, sharp monochrome tailoring and some awesome wide-leg trousers, mesh, crystal costume jewellery courtesy of Erickson Beamon and a dash of raunchy PVC). It made for a fantastically focused collection, where no look felt out of place. There weren't too many outfits or too few, and we were delighted to see the Seventies can take a less literal turn - we won't all be able to get away with looking like Taxi Driver's teen prostitute, Iris.

The top five things we enjoyed about Richard’s show:
1: The fabulously androgynous Jeanette (an East London 'face', [s]he owns a boutique that stocks Nicoll's clothes) - who ferosh-ly stormed the runway pre-show to spritz a little perfume (and glamour) on the catwalk. Nice touch.
2: Nicoll’s mini-maxi middle ground. No, we're not talking midi length dresses – instead Richard cleverly bridged the gap by layering his sheer column maxis with flirty pleated peplums - keeping both sides of the fash pack very happy.
3: The Bowie Soundtrack. Much more exciting than some of the repetitive boom boom boom/irrelevant tunes we've sat through so far.
4: Monochrome in the summer - yes it's set to be a bright and technicolour season, but a little respite for one’s eyes will be much appreciated at some point, we’re sure. Plus with Richard's blend of subtly clashing textures - summer boucle, tulle pointe, cotton knitwear, crystal embellishment, mesh and silk chiffon - black and white looks refreshing and cool.
5: The Seventies bomber jacket rendered in both a graphic monochrome and soft peachy fleshy tones – but not worn in a Nineties bomber jacket way with scary bootleg jeans - Nicoll’s vision is much softer and with chiffon billowing maxis instead. We’ve spotted quite a few bombers on the LFW catwalks – could this be a burgeoning jacket trend for spring? Bye bye bikers…
- Hannah Almassi


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