For Spring/Summer 2018, Nina Ricci’s director, Guillaume Henry, explained the placement of his show at Les Invalides and the collection’s distinct militaristic theme by claiming inspiration from the French Foreign Legion. The only problem with that is the French Foreign Legion has historically and purposefully excluded women from service, which is the kind of exclusionary institution the “woke” generation has worked to change. Perhaps Henry is envisioning a more egalitarian future, otherwise the reference is bizarre.
The collection, which mashed-up military elements like sharp tailoring, epaulets and rows of big brass buttons with feminine classics like lace, fringe, and feathers, was split between looks that worked and others that did not. It was easy to love Nina Ricci’s mix-and-match lace bodysuits and shorts, asymmetrical or ruched dresses, paneled trench coats, and twisted capes. However, the looks upholstered with marabou feathers seemed out of place – especially those showgirl headpieces – and the models were practically swimming in ridiculously outsized bottom portions that combined the essence of culottes and pleated trousers into curious hybrids.
It would have been an unequivocal success with better editing.
Furthermore, the fringe said everything the feathers were trying to say – movement, whimsy, femininity – which means Henry should have picked one or the other, or else risk making the collection too costume-y. Several looks with peaked shoulders also suffered the same fate. As a whole, the collection had a lot of a good moments, including an enticing palette and gorgeous fabrics, however it would have been an unequivocal success with better editing.