August 29 2014

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LFW Preview: Richard Nicoll


In a new series, drops in on a few of London’s hottest young talents to find out what’s in store. Next up: Richard Nicoll, who presents his women’s collections tomorrow.

The collection that launched a thousand pleated skirts—that’s the effect that Richard Nicoll’s Spring ’11 collection has had on the formidable British high street in the past few months. But Nicoll is not one to tread the well-worn path. “I just got really bored of this idea of a fitted silhouette. Last season my collection was very high-octane, so I felt that it’d be fresh to just do the opposite,” he said in his studio. 

Talk of ease and a relaxed silhouette not focused on the waist brings the twenties to mind, a reference underscored by the Edward Steichen photos of Marion Morehouse—one of the top models of the decade, and the future Mrs. E. E. Cummings—pinned to the wall. But Nicoll shrugs off specific referents. “I guess I always reference what I wear myself, my own wardrobe,” he explained. “It’s what I always do: sportswear shapes, a lot of T-shirt dressing. But it’s taking that a bit further with opulent fabrics.” To wit, a color-blocked top with a sporty zip to the neck and tracksuit trousers with elastic hems in the softest acetate velvet; it comes courtesy of a couture mill in France. A parka is kitted out with plumes of ostrich feathers.

An odder reference is at play, too: moths. There’s a shine to a lot of the collection, “inspired by moth-wing textures,” Nicoll said. “The colors and the finish—the wet-look textures—reflect that.” Trousers are cocoon-shaped, blouses are draped for a winged effect, and T-shirts are studded with Swarovski crystals reading “Acronicta” (the Latin name of the moth’s genus). Why moths? “I think it’s all about freedom. Personally, in my life, there’ve been a lot of changes in the last year, so it’s about coming out of a chrysalis and finding a sense of optimism, I guess!” Nicoll laughed. After London fashion week wraps, he continued, “I’m going straight to Paris for my last collection for Cerruti, and after that some time out. You feel that you’re married to the job, so it’d be nice to feel a bit freer—like a moth!”

Photos: Jaja Hargreaves/



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