Thursday, November 8, 2007

Paris Reviews - Nina Ricci S/S 2008

For his latest collection for Nina Ricci, Olivier Theyskens took his signature dark moodiness to the streets of Paris. His jeunes filles looked marvelously disheveled after a long night out on the town. Last season's ethereal, featherlight (and feather-heavy) collection set the tone for the hopelessly romantic Theyskens, and this season he continued his youthful theme with a series of looks that would be perfectly appropriate for the likes of Julia Restoin-Roitfeld (daughter of Vogue Paris editrix Carine Roitfeld) and her European socialite friends. For the girl who loves Giambattista Valli's irreverent-chic party frocks, Theyskens' leggy looks will seem right on target, if slightly more edgy than purely pretty. The silhouette was both lean and languid, with concert-inspired tees flowing with diaphanous chiffon panels attached, paired with pants ranging from cropped, fluid satin to lanky, enviable denim. Incredibly thin leather jackets had an undeniable downtown appeal, while the endless parade of hyper-short dresses (or were they tops?) will fit right into the discotheques of Paris and beyond. One can only hope the heat of spring and summer will keep these girls warm. When the occasion calls for more than just a flirty club outfit, there was an appropriate suit or two for going to the office.

But who says the Nina Ricci girl needs to work under the harsh glare of fluorescent lights? The bulk of the collection focused on evening looks, for the Nina Ricci girl is apparently more comfortable on the red carpet than in a conference call. Building on the success of Reese Witherspoon, whom Theyskens has been dressing in Nina Ricci for the biggest events all year, Theyskens sent out full-length looks not just to end the show, but throughout the whole collection, a less-than-subtle reminder that nighttime is where he (and ultimately his customer) shines. While none of the gowns was entirely challenging or fresh, especially after last season's L'Air du Temps-inspired showstoppers, there were certainly some stunning creations, including a number with the transparency seen on nearly every important runway this season. Theyskens is building a strong, romantic identity quickly at Nina Ricci, so it'll be intriguing to see how he backs these looks up in the stores, especially considering many are either at the upper end of ready-to-wear or are made-to-order, like the demi-couture he favored at Rochas (which has since been closed down). Will there be more of the practical day looks and cozy sweaters in the showroom? Is there a line of high-margin accessories right around the corner? Nina Ricci already has a strong perfume business, and the shoe business has been blooming. Are handbags far behind? Both the boon and the bane of luxury fashion houses in recent years, it would be interesting to see how Theyskens would do it without diluting the house's image.

Nina Ricci is available at Mario's Seattle and Nordstrom Bellevue.

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