"Lightness, color, femininity," said Lars Nilsson, summing up a sweet debut collection for Nina Ricci that focused on wispy, weightless daywear. But wasn't Nina Ricci the sophisticated tailor of her day? Didn't she dress ladies of a certain age in classic suits? Nilsson, who proved that he could cut a mean jacket and pants during his tenure at Bill Blass, abandoned tailoring altogether for his summer statement, save a single black wool gabardine jacket worn with knitted shorts. "I was after something more sensual," he explained.
Hence all the super-delicate lingerie slips and bra tops with spider-web lace or tulle inserts that came with Bermuda shorts, flippy skirts, and silk blousons. The colorslemon, tangerine, almond, mintwere delicious, especially when they sparkled with Lurex thread or were embroidered with transparent beads. And the dresses, from chiffon confections sprinkled with bows to slender jersey tanks, were perfectly in tune with this season's passion for all things pretty.
The purposeful femininity was no doubt intended to stamp the Nina Ricci brand with a strong, and much needed, sense of identity. But the collection overall was too floaty, and more tailoring might have anchored it better. We’ll just have to wait until fall to see how Mr. Nilsson cuts his trousers.