Bowie was the inspiration behind Nicoll's S/S 2011 collection, namely his The Thin White Duke era, and Angie Bowie at about the same time.
There are a few sure-fire ways a designer can win a jaded fashion crowd's heart. One is to play David Bowie's greatest hits, very loudly, for the duration of your show. Another is to turn out a near-perfect collection full of focused, precise and wearable clothes that are nevertheless inventive enough to get you all excited about fashion again. Richard Nicoll is a sensible man: this season, he hedged his bets, and offered both.
Bowie was the inspiration behind Nicoll's S/S 2011 collection, namely his The Thin White Duke era, and Angie Bowie at about the same time. What this means in fashion terms is sleek, simple and Minimal. That's been Nicoll's bag for his past couple of catwalk outings, and we were more than ready for more of the same. This time his slant was suitable monochrome, with slightly seventies wide trousers and a slew of last season's sleek maxi-skirts in monochrome knits, this time with fluttering pleat peplums (a clever solution for the continuing long-short debate). But there was something neatly kinky about this offering - Nicoll sliced up panels of stocking-style point d'esprit and patched them into his monochrome tailoring, alongside an healthy dose of shiny shiny patent leather whipped up into neat geometric trims outlining seams and a couple of knock-out Maîtresse pencil skirts. The best came with a fishnet-knit cardigan pricked with thousands of crystals and with a hefty bra poking through. Think fetish Miss Marple and you're halfway there, then colour in a palette of black, white and every shade of nude from tawny tan through nipple pink to a rich, naughty spanked-flesh salmon.
The elements knitted together in this collection could have caused many sure hands to stumble - Nicoll himself has actually tackled Angie's aesthetic legacy before, and with much less aplomb. But almost everything about this offering felt nigh-on perfect, not least the fact that you could imagine different women in just about each and every piece, all looking fabulous. It felt tough, it felt hard, it felt clean and above all it felt absolutely right for today.