Richard Nicoll changed everything the day before his show. He took away the jewelry, stripped off the feathers, dropped the elaborate embroideries he'd commissioned from an Indian manufacturer at great expense. As the name on the label, he has the freedom to do that. And freedom is exactly what his collection was about. Or, as he clarified, "Movement and freedom and comfort." Nicoll's motif was the moth, both in its cocoon and on the wing. The idea of a creature escaping from its chrysalis prison might have harked back to Nicoll's recently terminated tenure at Cerruti, but moth wings also inspired a lustrous surface for the clothes, along with the aerodynamic sense of spreading and soaring on a light evening breeze. One of the most striking pieces in the show wasn't much more than an elongated sweatshirt in a dark petrol velvet, with bat-wing sleeves that flowed into an extended, floating tail.
After last season's vanguard tribute to the precise, monochromatic angularity of David Bowie's Thin White Duke persona, Nicoll claimed he was "bored of seeing waisted silhouettes." There wasn't a waist in sight this time. Instead, more of that oversize sweatshirt shape, and a clutch of dropped waists, bi-level tunics, and shifts. What could have been a formula for inchoate shapelessness was instead turned sensuous by the elasticated athleticism and leggy physicality that is very much a Nicoll signature. This time, however, it was tempting to see the added sportswear polish of, say, drop-waisted, lightly quilted parkas as having rubbed off from Cerruti.
One for the head-scratchers was Nicoll's decision to glitter the Latin names for various subspecies of moth on his T-shirts. Acronica, anyone?