Nina Ricci sets sail with Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh
Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh did not disappoint at Nina Ricci this season. On Friday, the Dutch couple, who took home the grand prize at 2018's Hyères Festival, made their debut as the creative directors of a big-name luxury fashion house on the Parisian runways. They sent out a refreshing collection displaying masterful cuts and finishes, as well as a judicious balance between wearable pieces and a subtly exotic touch: tens across the board.
The Nina Ricci woman for Fall/Winter 2019-20 is a classy lady, showing off her never-ending legs in high-heeled sandals, an elegant wide-brimmed cloche hat perched on her head. This vaguely retro piece appeared in a wide range of colours on the runway, and takes its inspiration from the famous felt hats created by the Puig-owned house's founder in the 50s and 60s.
Models wore beautifully made monochrome suits in white, beige, black or navy with a fine banker stripe; wide, comfortable-looking trousers paired with large short-sleeved trompe l'oeil shirts that doubled layers of silk to make them look as though they were overlapping; or little draped dresses in organza that put one in mind of multi-layered petticoats. An iconic element of the house's style, bows were amped up and incorporated into the side of a dress or the shoulder of a subdued jacket in order to bring new volume to the silhouette.
Throughout the show, there was an undercurrent to this simultaneously understated and laid-back elegance, something like a ripple, or a wave of warmth. No doubt it was the sea breeze of a faraway Caribbean island – perhaps Hispaniola, where Lisi Herrebrugh's family came from, or Curaçao, where Rushemy Botter was born.
It was as though one could hear the whisper of the sea running through the collection thanks to a number of subtle nods. A little nylon rope, for example, was used as a drawstring at the top of a blazer sleeve, putting one in mind of the world of yachting.
There were also tops with collars which closed with laces that were crossed over and threaded through metal rings, while others revealed the models' backs, where a complex game of lacing was taking place. Solid double-breasted jackets in dark wool took on the air of pea coats, while pieces of satin edged with rope and metal eyelets were overlapped to make a tunic, worn over a pair of trousers.
Still referencing yachts, the parachute-like evening dresses were made of light, colourful nylon in orange, red and azure, and would only have needed a strong gust of wind to transform into the spinnaker of a boat. Looking back from the sea to the shore, the designers also took inspiration from beach parasols, a reference which was particularly evident in a doily-like mini-dress edged with transparent frills.
The designers also played with the theme of swimsuits, one of which was drawn in relief on a jacket, while another appeared in contrasting blue canvas on a grey woollen maxi coat. This idea was also explored in high-collared long-sleeved bodysuits in technical fabrics featuring blocks of bright colours like lime green, cobalt blue and orange, which were worn with low-rider trousers that revealed the top of the models' thighs.
There were no romantic frills in this new vision of Nina Ricci, just a youthful and contemporary wardrobe shot through with elegance. Such is the path being carved out by Botter (33) and Herrebrugh (29), who met 10 years ago near Herrebrugh's hometown of Amsterdam. The couple would later move to Antwerp, where they founded menswear brand Botter in 2017, which was also a finalist for the LVMH Prize in 2018.
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