A looming rumor of another designer departure threatened to upstage the presentation at Nina Ricci for Fall/Winter 2018 today, particularly because the gossip directly involved the brand’s Creative Director, Guillaume Henry. After only three years at Nina Ricci, speculation mounts that he is preparing to leave, however, the brand refuted the idea, stating, “All the information stated within the news are [sic] pure speculation that do not respond to reality.”
Yet, the conjecture jibes with one reality: that Henry and Nina Ricci have been something of a mismatch since the beginning. Nina Ricci is the go-to label for the jolie madame, but Henry’s focus has been less on soft romanticism and more on polished menswear, tailoring, and an infusion of sportswear. It’s brought celebrity fans like Rihanna to the label, but has left some critics wondering about the brand’s identity.
Regardless of whether or not this is his last collection, Henry’s Fall/Winter 2018 collection for Nina Ricci had some fantastic pieces, and some less-than-great ones. On the sartorially successful side, there were elegant cape-shirt hybrids, crinkled silk dresses, a jaw-dropping sheath made from obsidian-black cormorant feathers, a double-breasted pewter leather trench, a liquid silk cape the color of a copper penny, a romantic variety of quilted-and-padded pastel trenches, and slinky ribbed dresses that reached the floor.
Yet, the conjecture jibes with one reality: that [Guillaume] Henry and Nina Ricci have been something of a mismatch since the beginning.
Less successful ventures were found in ill-fitting slips with articulated bustiers, and the occasional gray latex piece that looked strange when paired with a lace bodice. His girl seemed at once militaristic and severe and hopelessly romantic, which set the collection at odds with itself. She still seems to be searching for an identity, but that doesn’t mean we’re throwing the baby out with the proverbial bathwater. Instead, as Nina Ricci continues to strive for balance, its future is assured by a steady vision, be it Henry’s or – someday soon? – another lucky designer’s.