Nina Ricci: Should I stay or should I go now?

A pall hung over the Nina Ricci show on Friday afternoon in Paris. The evening before, the house of Nina Ricci officially denied a trade newspaper report that this would be the last show of its designer Guillaume Henry. Nonetheless, an air of finality about the event.


Nina Ricci F/W18 - Photo: Pixelformula

 
Staged in the massive Hotel Potocki mansion in the tony 8th arrondissement, the first models took to the catwalk, the air crackling with tension. And the collection contained what was good, and not so good, about Henry’s designs for Nina Ricci.
 
Guillaume cuts with élan – like his opening tuxedo shirt in powder blue that floated so elegantly; or his finely shaped black hussar’s coat with brass floral insignia. He is inventive with his fabrics – like the wonderful pewter colored coat and negligee dress that looked like it was made of liquid rubber.
 
However, too often he attempts an overly sophisticated approach – like bulbous metal rings used as buckles on several looks, most unfortunately on a faintly daft black dress worn by French beauty Audrey Marnay. Plus, we really could have done without the Dixon of Dock Green policemen capes.
 
That said, there was a delightful passage at the end, with a quartet of gals in sequin slips and metallic silk bustier tops that were a reminder of how good a designer Henry really can be.
 
Backstage, Henry told FashionNetwork.com: “No, I am not leaving Nina Ricci, and this is not the moment to talk about rumors, especially a day of a défilé!”
 
Nina Ricci also denied the report, but rather more conditionally. “All the information stated within the news are pure speculation that do not respond to reality,” said the house’s statement, which is not exactly a complete denial.


Nina Ricci F/W18 - Photo: Pixelformula

 
Whatever happens, one could not help noticing the soundtrack of Jane Birkin singing, "Vie Mort Et Resurrection D’un Amour Passion". A tragic tale of lost love, which more spoke volumes about the atmosphere of this show than any press release.
 
Henry arrived at Ricci almost exactly three years ago, after completing his last collection for Carven, a house he is credited with reviving, and putting back on the map, after several decades in the wilderness.  According to well-informed sources, Henry signed a three-year contract, which would mean that it is up for renewal in March. Making a separation easier for the management.
 
Henry has also made clear to friends that he felt very frustrated by what he perceived to be a lack of investment in Nina Ricci. That said, should he indeed leave, Henry will still have many supporters in Paris. His success at Carven has not been forgotten, even if his tenure at Nina Ricci has been far more complicated.

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