Dusty pretty colors, simple unforced shapes, and enough quirky detail to make it interesting: All these summery qualities came together on Richard Nicoll
's runway. "I was looking for that balance between urban dressing and escapism," he explained. "I looked at early photographs of Tahiti for the prints, but really it just felt like a consolidation of everything I've done." A good self-assessment: In the past, Nicoll has quietly put out good pants, jackets, and shirts, but they've often been presented in ways that don't quite work with the rest of his show pieces; or he'll go off on a tangent and appear to be a different designer than he was the season before. This time, partly because of his choice of floppy silks, the continuity flowed. Between the pants, the breezy square-cut dresses, and the sarong skirts, it all conveyed a grasp on real dressing with a pretty but not saccharine edge. That understanding of ease in daywear is something too few designers have, and it looks as if Nicoll, an Australian, has discovered the confidence to put into action something he knows innately.