Richard Nicoll Womenswear A/W12

Dazed meets the designer at his studio, two days before his refocused show...

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We're at Richard Nicoll's new studio on the Kingsland Road, a light and airy space with lofty views across east London. “I felt a bit burnt out by the razzmatazz of doing a show each season and wanted to approach things differently this time,” says the designer. This season Nicoll would move from a traditional catwalk show to an intimate presentation.

I felt a bit burnt out by the razzmatazz of doing a show each season and wanted to approach things differently this time

One of London's regarded labels, Nicoll has been producing on the international schedule, currently four seasons a year. Combine the pressure of that with a designer known for constant consideration, precision and attention to detail – and a relatively small team – and it's understandable to want to find a new way of working. “Fashion design is a commercial art, you just have to work a hell of a lot harder than musicians or artists to survive. Producing four seasons a year, as a smaller label, is really difficult to maintain.” he explains.

The pieces are grouped into block colours, deep yellow, vibrant orange, an almost Yves Klein Blue set against a grounding mid-grey and pure white. The shapes are simple yet beautifully constructed and the selection of pieces themselves are both statement and everyday

Moving the collection from catwalk to presentation means less strain on the team, but it is also gives the design of the pieces themselves room to develop. Looking at the resulting collection for this season, a coherence is definitely clear. The clothes are simple and clean, proud, powerful and always understandable. The pieces are grouped into block colours, deep yellow, vibrant orange, an almost Yves Klein Blue set against a grounding mid-grey and pure white. The shapes are simple yet beautifully constructed and the selection of pieces themselves are both statement and everyday. “I can trip myself up with over-conceptualisation of the collections, which is fine, but sometimes that can leave people scratching their heads. I wanted to do something pragmatic and authentic and that is just about the clothes,” he explains. Described by Nicoll himself as inspired by “work relevant daywear,” the collection is a mix of office and industrial, elegance and strength, for a slightly austere, modern power woman.

Held at the ICA theatre and art directed by Nicoll, the intention for his presentation is to use the girls as a “metaphor for the pace at which we work now, walking the perimeter like robots on a conveyor belt.” Growing as a designer and as a team, Nicoll has produced a collection that is not only creatively intriguing, but undeniably desirable. “It feels less of a fashion collection and more of a clothing line,” he deadpans. Whether or not that is true, the results look stunning, feel beautiful and want to be worn.

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