February 12, 2008
There's a wisdom in maintaining a certain thread of continuity between collections, especially when you're a young designer trying to impress your identity on the world. That idea must have been at the front of Richard Nicoll's mind when he followed up his Amish-organza-themed hit Spring show with more of the same: large, squared-off collars on dresses with semi-transparencies built into double-layered skirts. The clothes looked easier to wear than last season's more theoretical work, and there was no harm in showing them. The remaining question was whether Nicoll could complete the thought, or make it branch off interestingly in another directionthe sort of imaginative narrative that makes a fashion show a satisfying thing to watch.
The answer is, he didn't. The rest of the collection was a bumpy ride with scant discernable connection between looks, shapes, and intentions. Not that there weren't bits and pieces that looked strong: a couple of businesslike blazers with short skirts, a navy cashmere shawl wrapped over soft pants and a blouse, and a long midnight-blue chiffon shirtdress with a bow at the neck, to name a few. Had he just concentrated on building off those looks, the collection would've seemed far more resolved.