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Monday, February 23, 2009

London Fashion Week: Richard Nicoll

Soon after Christopher Kane packed up his subdued fare and braved the London streets, that other man-of-the-moment, Richard Nicoll, bounded into the same space with racks of dazzling rock-star frocks. The front row was so A-list that you wondered if they’d gotten confused on this, the day of the Oscars, and attended the wrong red carpet. But no. “The ideal Richard Nicoll customer is Linder Sterling because she is strong, empathetic, creative, unique and intelligent,” Nicoll said backstage, his chiselled looks all but cracking paparazzi lenses.

Turns out flattery will get you everywhere, because Sterling—Morissey's BFF and a herself an artist—was another of those front-rowers, wearing a billowy tunic brazenly screen-printed with one of her own images. This Charming Man played and models stomped the yard on cue, decked in Sterling's works—digital shots of bare skin, faces awash in reds and pinks, lips and hair lost in the folds—vaguely reminiscent of her Buzzcocks album covers.

Sterling proudly cooed from the sidelines like a first-time mum. In fact she literally beamed as her body-inspired prints splayed across Nicoll's impeccably stitched corsetry and suspenders, while form-fitting dresses were slashed at the thigh to reveal white skinnies and lamé leggings—all of which was greeted by rapturous applause. Nicoll, equally proud, made his way to the finale and wrung his hands to the camera flashes. He is the usurper of a new generation—and a very charming man.

—Hynam Kendall

Richard Nicoll

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sink or Swiss

Our Zurich style correspondent PLAY on the Swiss Textiles Awards...

Bless the weird and wonderful imagination of Rodarte sisters Laura & Kate Mulleavy, whose go-go gothic vision—roughly resembling a pillow fight between a fairy-tale princess and Edward Scissorhands—won the 2008 Swiss Textiles Award. Who says dark times don't come with happy endings—and hefty prize money (100,000 euros)? Besides, you can't argue with a Vogue cover and Anna Wintour's nod of approval.

I had the opportunity to follow all the nominees, from fittings to the grand finale. It was amazing to watch Jean-Pierre Braganza spend hours perfecting his razor-sharp tailoring. Louise Goldin's extraterrestial knits and Richard Nicoll's pastel futurism blew me away. Throw in special guests Angela Missoni and Patricia Field, plus a judging panel that included i-D's Terry Jones, and you can see why global fashion villagers keep jetting to Zurich.

Richard Nicoll / Louise Goldin / Jean-Pierre Braganza

Last year's winner, Marios Schwab, treated us to an after-party aptly held in the old stock exchange, which brings us to the miserable world economy. Next year, the Swiss Textiles Awards will be celebrating its 10th anniversary—with past winners including Bruno Pieters, Bernhard Willhelm and Raf Simons, it will no doubt be a grand retrospective. But is the proverbial party over? It'll be a good opportunity to sober up, shed some weight and get a facelift.

And now, I humbly offer a tip to the organizers. Please no more monster shows. It really is quite hard, even for the most hardened fashion insider, to drum up enthusiasm for a two-and-a-half-hour runway show, even with Patricia Field's high-octane glam troopers. True, it's Switzerland, but even dry-as-bone bean counters lust for drama.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

London Fashion Week: Richard Nicoll

Showing in a church in London's Spitalfields, Richard Nicoll expanded on the neo-Puritan tailored aesthetic he started last season with architectural dresses in contrasting fabrics and a color palette of black, cream, aubergine, navy and royal blue. Eccentric professionalism and the decadence of disco were talked about, and the romance was noticeably heightened, yet it was only at the final walk-through the sheer diversity became clear. There were even black Swarovski crystal-embellished pants—that would be the decadent disco part.

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