Under Olivier Theyskens' guidance, Nina Ricci is going through a metamorphosis. The label was originally a frilly lady brand, but he is steering it toward a young, hip girl with an unshowy rockster personality. To get there, Theyskens took her hand today and led her through a long trail in the woods, dressing her in clothes tinted and textured with the vegetal yellowy-greeny-brownish colors of fallen leaves or hibernating moths. "Strange and poetic," he called it, "but not dark."
In practical terms, the whole of the first passage was about layerings of soft jackets, wispy underlayers, and an extended riff on multiple versions of a twisty-legged pantjodhpurlike above, skinny-legged below, each shading seamlessly downward into a matching shoe-boot. If the pant never quite hit the mark (there's a general question mark hovering over "creative" trousers this season, and Theyskens' didn't remove it), the array of jackets and the tonal subtleties kept the eye seduced. Ocher, dull yellows, khaki, rust, and chestnut progressed into greens, plastery pinks, and dusty blues as the top layers resolved into a series of great cutaway tailcoats with rounded shoulders reminiscent of beetle wings.
Underscored by an ominous soundtrack, the cumulative effect touched another note on the scale of sub-horror-movie themes that have been playing through the collections. Finally, the chrysalis imagery broke open into dresses and strapless evening gowns, some detailed with a suggestion of vestigial wings. That put Theyskens back on familiar territorya long way from conventional party dressing, and recognizably faithful to the sensibility he began working with as a gothy, romantic Belgian youngster at the beginning of his career.