Guillaume Henry’s first pre-fall collection for Nina Ricci was his most successful attempt to modernize the house’s overtly feminine ethos with his vision of bourgeois minimalism that is both delicate and rough. “I like to design feminine clothes that are not so proper, a bit scruffy, mixing the poor and the rich,” said Henry, noting the crinkled effect on a dress or the shaggy texture of a deep green fur coat in a patchwork of Mongolian sheepskins and mink.
Working from a made-up narrative about an actress whose mysterious allure inspires men to follow her through the streets of Paris, Henry thought about movements, gestures and textures more than silhouette, which he prefers to be plain, almost generic. He captured the contradictory appeal of women in men’s coats, lingerie lace mixed with men’s wear checked wool on dresses, and pajama jacket worn with a ballgown. Yet the palette was purely feminine, derived from classic makeup colors like the terra-cotta color of a pantsuit with a crinkled chiffon blouse with a big, floppy Pierrot color, and the rusty rouge of a leather dress.
If the overall impression of the collection was subtle, the details impressed. Creased pleats gave ultrasoft tailoring structure; a glossy leather coat had a cool, papery touch; and the light dusting of sequins and subtle patchwork on a black, smocked chiffon dress took it beyond the little black dress.