Nina Ricci's girl of the early morning hours
ith fashion week winding down around the world, there are a few shows in particular I return to over and over again for an aesthetic hit. Looking at a show once is sometimes enough, but some are too exceptional not to revisit and commit to memory, to discover a new and covetous detail with each click. Nina Ricci was like that for me this season. Though the house isn't generally lumped in with the big guns (think Marc, Vuitton and the beloved Mr. Wang), Guillaume Henry always impresses for the sheer realism of his collections. He seems to beckon, "this is the way you want to dress as a woman, and this is the way you can dress."
And it's true, even as other houses are pushing the limits of dress for shock value or hipster status (didn't we all see Rick Owens' models "wear themselves" last year?), Guillaume Henry for Nina Ricci on the other hand stays firmly within a realm of what could be found in a woman's closet today. In fall/winter 2016, as much as he made this woman a real possibility, at the same time, he fashioned something of an apparition. The resultant combination of ordinariness and ephemerality was striking. Even his inky grey/blue color palette—colors deriving from the earth itself—enshroud her in an other-worldly aura. Could such a woman be real? A woman who could seduce a man even in a buttoned up turtle neck, even with a skirt past her knees with covered legs in smoke-colored tights peaking out of a very demure slit? He answers, but of course—she is real. We can picture her slinking off secretively in the early morning hours with her lover's coat as a souvenir—that, in many of Henry's iterations extended past her finger tips or could have wrapped her slender body three times over—no matter, she shall have it anyway.
There were also few elements which will doubtlessly call to mind quintessential Victorian details, a trend which had somewhat of a presence this season. Little bits of lace edged slip dresses at the bodice and hem, velvet was meshed with delicate chiffon, for example. Then, there was his take on the choker: skinny, stemming from the garment itself and encircling the neck in a way which appeared to be less of a haphazard consequence of getting re-dresed under the aforementioned circumstances, but brilliantly, the intent of it. Is Guillaume Henry channelling the femministe of the Tinder age here?
He remained close to marks of classic french style as well opening the show with an oversized le smoking and dotting his looks with collar-cum-scarves tied into blasé little knots off the center of the neck..très française. We also caught glimpses of unpadded bralettes—a parisienne's staple—revealed beneath semi-transparent (poly?) organza.
It was all very sophisticated- from the subtle details he built into each look to the way in which it worked as an ensemble and to the collection at large—a total delight, and in my opinion a must see atop your long list of designers to peruse on Vogue.com.