I did a mad dash backstage at Richard Nicoll and without reading the show notes of his S/S 12 collection, it had already sent a ton of things crashing through my head – Laura Palmer shrouded in plastic in Twin Peaks, chicks in 60s flicks (or portrayals of the 60s) wearing lingerie and night gowns that are so pouffy and voluminous that any sexiness that was there is duly negated, the Jetsons, nan's bathroom (I hate to generalise but let's just say most grandma's bathrooms of a certain generation just veer towards a certain sickly pastel palette), Sweet Valley High book covers, taxi seat covers in Tokyo‚Ä¶
That was the rushed head spin that Nicoll's collection put me through backstage. It would be too simple to read the hazy florals, the candy colours and the floral devour as a purely prim n' proper tale. Then again, as the season went on, beyond Nicoll's collection, suddenly it seemed everyone was questioning femininity and what its surface ideals actually meant. Nicoll gets some say in this seasonal subject matter though and when you investigate one of his references for the collection, in the form of this video of actress Romy Schneider in the unfinished Henri-Georges Clouzot film L'Enfer, suddenly a telling light is shed. All that PVC shrouding the sickly sweet materials is echoed in the plastic wrap suffocating Schneider (no wonder the collection twigged Laura Palmer in my head). The pyjama prints, the slinky she's pushing down her slip dress, the blue lipstick and the sensual yet sinister sheen of Schneider are all similarly worked into the collection.
The idea of obscure arthouse referencing might sound poncy but upon seeing this powerful bit of footage, it's easy to see why Nicoll would have fallen for it as inspiration fodder. That it translated into the sort of separates that Nicoll has made his bread and butter from is a bonus – lurex sweaters, chiffon tees, liquid lame tunics, chiffon pyjama trousers, matching blouses and slip dresses are just some of the layering goods that's on offer with the addition of the more challenging PVC overlays and hooped skirts that I suspect are more for making a point about 60s feminine futurism rather than an actual real working wardrobe proposition. That said I'm personally not one to say no to a hooped skirt re-imagined for the 21st century. Especially when they encase the legs like romantic mosquito bed nets. The secret is out… cheesy veils on beds are my weakness‚Ä¶