Cerruti, the French tailoring label, hasn't had much of a profile in womenswear for several seasons, but on October 1 last year, the company signed the London-based Australian designer Richard Nicoll to revive its credibility. In the short time he's been there (while shuttling to and fro on Eurostar), Nicoll has identified the house strength in daywear and set about recasting it for a modern woman's working life. One of the ways he does that is through tonal color, matching cranberry shades in a single look, then grays; moving into a strong passage of petrol, teal blue, and navy; and then into unconventional pastel tones of apricot and beige-pink.
Yet being allocated the last-but-one slot in four weeks of shows didn't do the management any favors. While scores of editors were streaming home after Hermès, or struggling in traffic across town to make Miu Miu, Cerruti had chosen to show in the bleak, out-of-town cluster of abandoned warehouses the Chambre Syndicale of Paris has christened "Halle Freyssinet"—and which some international fashion professionals have taken to calling "Hell."
Overall, there was not enough here to make a fair evaluation of the soundness of Nicoll's ideas about dressing working women. His mohair knits certainly have a fluffy appeal, as does the windowpane check tailoring, but notions like pants in see-through perforated fabric and latex skirts and leggings aren't going to fly. Next season, Cerruti would be better off taking their presentation back home to their classy, light-filled showroom in the center of Paris, walking distance from where their customers live, work, and stay on business.