Richard Nicoll put on a triumph of a show today. I doubt that anyone walked out of the eerily quiet Tate Modern (it was late and the space was closed) not wanting to buy at least five pieces from what they had just seen. How could they not? He makes it seem so easy, Nicoll, but we all know that’s the hardest thing to achieve. Take his show notes, for example – just a bunch of words and phrases thrown together, each one exactly what we want to have in our wardrobes: 'Masculine Glamour', 'Louche Elegance', 'Utilitarian Luxury'. I walked along the Embankment back to Somerset House so buzzing I hardly felt the cold.
Everything came together to create the most complete and fully realised collection Nicoll has shown so far: his brilliant use of colour, the sense of ease and sportiness that’s always been present and the pure modernity of his designs. The two-tone grey and navy coat that opened the show was proof of that and so was the loosely tailored grey trouser suit that soon followed or the slimmer-fitting one after that, the trousers rolled-up to the ankles, the jacket just skimming the waistline, the collar of a little white shirt just showing through. He played with texture offering just enough to be part of the fuzzy fur conversation of the season but nothing ‘out there’ you couldn’t throw on tomorrow to go to work – a striped herringbone fur pencil skirt looked great with a simple knit. Take look 16 as an example. It reads: pastel-hued biker jacket over waffle knit over buttoned-up shirt over silk satin skirt and patent pumps – modern dressing at its best.
With the shapes nailed Nicoll focused on his palette – from glossy melange, steel and dove grey and soft pink to French, denim and eggshell navy with touches of bright orange, coral and bubble-gum pink. An orange top, its pattern mimicking the crocodile skin, over a deeper-hued long orange skirt looked particularly great. He also showed his romantic side. A blush silk satin dress with a frill fluttering down the back was sweet but not saccharine and the two final dresses, one in black, the other in orange had shimmering sequins peeking underneath a layer of chiffon. A modern romantic – what’s not to love?