“When the economy changes, it’s not like you want to start eating bad-tasting chocolate,” Olivier Theyskens said after showing his pre-fall collection for Nina Ricci in New York on Monday morning. “You have to stay true to what you’re doing, and the house of Nina is about luxury.”
Indeed, Theyskens, who, in recent months, has been the subject of rumors that his two-year stint as artistic director at Nina Ricci is in jeopardy, sent forth a glamorous lineup of rich leather jackets, diaphanous silk dresses and slouchy pantsuits.
According to the designer, in beginning to create the line, he asked himself, “If I was a girl, what would I want? What would I need?” Known for his exquisite prints, Theyskens used a Seventies-style graphic motif in vibrant colors played up against neutrals. Dresses were short; pants, skinny, and outerwear, sporty.
And, although his collections routinely have received critical praise, Theyskens has weathered reports that sales have been flat for the label, which is sold in 50 U.S. doors and 200 worldwide. When asked whether such reports — and the economy in general — have influenced his creative approach, Theyskens, dressed casually in a hot pink shirt and dark gray sweater, offered a polite but emphatic no.
“I think it’s important to study the market and to feel you are right with it,” he explained. “But if I felt we had to start doing simple clothes, I’d be doing them.” As for his job security, Theyskens smiled and said, “I am totally committed to Nina Ricci. None of us really know from where such rumors come up, but we are feeling very confident that things are going in the right place.”
His confidence may be based in part on the introduction of an expanded accessories line, particularly handbags. Theyskens designed four styles for spring: a hobo, shoulder bag, tote and clutch, in skins from alligator to calf to pony. “I want this one,” he said, showing off a boxy alligator tote with leather ribbon detailing (about $25,000, though most of the bags run in the $1,800 to $2,500 range).
Shoes, too, played a major role in the pre-fall fare, as in platform pumps and booties (one unexpected flourish: a clear plastic heel fashioned into a dove). Despite the fact that he’s not deviating from his perfectionist clothing designs, Theyskens admitted that, when it came to creating a bag collection, he wanted to keep things “discreet.”
“We’ve had a propensity toward so much flash the last few years,” he said, “and I wanted to make something classic with simple hardware.” Translation? In lieu of fancy snaps and buckles, many of the bags, in black, steely gray and eggplant, feature a brass rope chain, some woven with leather, and a leather ribbon fluttering from the side. “I wanted to have a ribbon that you could hold in your hand and play with,” explained Theyskens. He also has created a line of sunglasses and eyewear, which he said would be in stores by June.
However, while accessories are often financial juggernauts for apparel companies, Mario Grauso, president of Puig Beauty & Fashion Group, which owns Nina Ricci, was quick to downplay high expectations for the collection. “I think that, for any fashion house at this moment in time, you’re trying to make the best of a bad situation,” he said. “I personally believe that the accessories market is kind of overloaded, so I don’t think that the new guy coming in is suddenly going to have a huge business. We’re going to start building what I hope will be a big business. But I also think, in a tough economy, girls are going to make themselves feel better with a smaller purchase, whether it’s eyewear or a pair of shoes.”
And, while Grauso — who noted he is “trying to keep the prices down as much as we can; now’s not the time for $25,000 dresses” — would not disclose sales volume for the label, he remains solidly behind his 31-year-old employee, whom he’s had his eye on since Theyskens’ days at Rochas. “I feel like, as soon as I hire somebody, there’s rumors about them leaving,” Grauso said. Theyskens’ contract is up in October, and Grauso added: “To be honest, Olivier and I haven’t started to renegotiate, but right now we’re fine. I can’t help but be pleased. He’s done a great job.”
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews