On The Assembly Line With Richard Nicoll
Richard Nicoll calls this his sensible period. “More grown-up,” he explained with a laugh before his show this afternoon. “I thought this time would never come! I guess it’s the simplest collection I’ve done so far, and I liked the honesty of it.” Sensible has never been the most exciting of words in fashion, but Nicoll has a hint of provocation planned. “I’m using the presentation as a kind of metaphor for the way I’m feeling about the industry, so it’s art-directed to look like a tongue-in-cheek factory with the girls walking down conveyor belts and all of us wearing industrial workwear uniforms. We’re the factory workers producing these girls and these clothes!” Sensible with a twist, let’s call it.
Whether or not you work in a factory, the designer went on to explain, the collection is all about modern work clothes. “I wanted to approach this collection in a pragmatic way and make it a collection of clothing as opposed to a collection of fashion,” he said. “I wanted to change strategy and change direction and think about what I do for my brand from a more economically responsible way.” There’s a soft leather dress, pinafore-style in hazard orange, leather trousers in uniform blue, and an even softer wool-cashmere gray dress with sharp concertina-billboard folds that flip open, revealing a contrasting blue. “I looked at Jacques Tati’s Playtime, the early-sixties film, where he used a lot of gray and then some pop-y, almost Eames colors,” he said. Despite a sixties inspiration, one part of the collection was entirely modern: the white leather bag Nicoll designed with the English label Tusting. It features a hidden battery pack in the bottom that allows women to plug in and charge their cell phones, thanks to a partnership with Vodaphone, which has been sponsoring Nicoll’s presentations for two seasons.