Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Posted by Melanie Rickey, Fashion Editor at Large

Ask a fashion editor at the end of a busy day of attending catwalk shows what he or she enjoyed today, and you will be met with something a bit like this. "I...er...em.. Oh God, wasn't it Balenciaga this morning? Or was that yesterday? Er, sorry today is just a blur." It happens to everyone, but occasionally great or surprising fashion experiences stand out from a day of shows. Louis Vuitton's awesome steam train with the Marc Jacobs clad models and luggage laden uniformed porters trotting alongside them will stay in my mind for a long time. In London, Richard Nicoll's presentation for AW12 stood out for being totally unexpected and clever.

Nicoll, a feted member of London Fashion Week's young establishment normally presents a conceptual fashion show experience in a modern architectural space. For his Autumn/Winter presentation Richard threw out the so-called fashion show rule-book and set up a space he called "The Factory"at the Institute of Contemporary Art on Pall Mall, to show his collection monikered "Modern Times," in a tongue in cheek reference to the 1936 Charlie Chaplin film.  Before you carry on, why not open another window and click this link so you can listen to the music that was playing on the day, created by Daniel Lea at Golden Hum.
Nicoll created a fashion factory, where make-up artists, dressers, photographers, technicians
 and himself were workers producing the models

To help you decipher what is going on here, observe the rectangular runway. Models walked
 it before stopping to have their photo taken for Richard's lookbook by Jermaine Francis. 
Within the runway is the hair and make-up area and two Mac terminals to record all the
 pictures. Around the runway hangs all 24 outfits from Richard's collection, and behind 
the plywood backboard models changed before walking out again.  
A model, with earphones in, stops on the conveyor belt catwalk to have her picture taken.

Unlike at a fashion show, when generally the designer is backstage stressing out, Richard was 
out front, relaxed and chatting away. First he told me what the idea was conceptually inspired
 by,"I thought about modern work habits and looked to constructivism, Jacques Tati’s 1967 
film ‘Play Time’ and industrial factory wear for form and colour references,” he explained. 
Hence the workman orange, cobalt blue, and neon yellow coloured clothes. 

To frame the why of this happening Richard was honest, "I didn't want to do a show. 
For me, personally I have a block when it comes to the show. I think of the concept, then
 the clothes. I'm just a kid from Perth, it doesn't fit my personality to do conceptual shows.
 I want the clothes to come first. I wanted to create authentic, simple and sensible clothes 
women can wear in their daily life."

Looks from Richard Nicoll's Modern Times collection (shot by Jermaine Francis) 

"Really what this is all about is, I suppose, me making peace with my commercial side," said
 Richard. "I feel creatively fulfilled. What I am all about now is serving my customer." Then
 he gave me a quick whoosh around his Factory space, stopping at the Mac terminals for a
 gaze at the lookbook shoot...
The photography studio area which was located inside the catwalk loop
Acid colours in Nicoll's AW12 collection 
All the looks from Richard Nicoll AW12

Cards setting out the look for each model.
Nicoll collaborated with Tusting on bags.
...before coming to a standstill in front of these two bags. The one below is the bag that based a wave of hysterical fashion Tweeting because it recharges mobile phones, something I wish my handbag could do, especially during the shows.  Richard created the bag with his sponsors Vodafone, whom he has partnered with for the second time for AW12 "we wanted to create a collaborative product that fused technology and fashion," he said. "So we came up with the idea of doing a charging bag that charges your mobile device on the go, which is especially relevant because this collection is about the notion of work and all its facets in modern times."

To use the bag it must be charged from the mains power using a cable that magnetically attaches to the outside of the bag. Once the bag battery is full, it will charge handsets for at least two days.

If you are thinking Where Can I Get One?? Join the club. To find out I called Richard who is out in L.A with the British Fashion Council presenting at the London Showrooms and he told me the bag is coming in white, orange, blue and black leather and Net-A-Porter have the exclusive on it. Will update further when I get retail price and in-stock date.

Nicoll, Tusting and Vodafone created the bag (above, and below) which charges your phone for you.

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