NINA RICCI AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR PARIS FASHION WEEK

NINA RICCI AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR PARIS FASHION WEEK

Guillaume Henry is the new guy at Nina Ricci. He had a good run at Carven, turning a brand virtually unknown outside of Paris fashion circles into a global operation, and very quickly creating signatures that made the label’s clothes recognizable and desirable. Nina Ricci is a different proposition; Henry is just the latest designer to take on the creative director role here, and he does so against the backdrop of a Paris fashion week busy with debuts.

As Henry’s predecessor, Peter Copping, left things, Ricci was a house known for its femininity. Even when he was making sweaters, Copping gave them a hint of the boudoir. Henry didn’t out and out reverse the formula, but he did tweak it significantly, cutting dresses in the straight lines of a T-shirt; restricting the color palette to neutral shades of white, camel, and navy, save for a single fiery red number; and adding pants and coats with the orderliness of military uniforms to the mix. It didn’t feel exactly minimal, not with the abundance of lace on the runway. But there was something about the way Henry handled the fabric—crushing and ruching it on loose-fitting shifts—that suggested he was thinking along more casual, less precious lines. Part of what made Copping’s Ricci special was the way he romanced a dress. The strength of this collection was the outerwear, boyish in its proportions and boasting painted porcelain buttons imprinted with the house’s iconic dove. The collection as a whole didn’t quite take off, but many of Henry’s instincts looked right: the undone hair and makeup, the classic, low-heeled pumps. We’ll be looking forward to seeing how he fleshes out his vision for the label in the coming months.

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