Friday, March 6, 2009

Olivier Theyskens Goes Out With a Bang

Is Olivier Theyskens about to leave Nina Ricci? Fashion’s worst-kept secret was for all to see as the Belgian designer glumly waved farewell after his ready-to-wear show tonight.

Backstage the press people kept mum over the months-long swirling rumors that Mr. Theyskens is poised to leave the fashion house. The company has declined to comment for months.

Yet when the designer was asked whether this was an emotional evening for him, the long-haired designer stared at the ground, simply replying, “Yes it is.”

The show wasn’t exactly a cheery affair either. Hard piercing music played as models with scraped back hair trundled down the runway wearing huge platform shoes. Big shoulder pads abounded as did black trouser suits with loose pants. Equally popular were double-breasted coats with high collars.

The occasional splash of color was provided with the odd gold flowing dress and purple evening gown. But on the whole the collection stuck closely to Mr. Theyskens’ nighttime theme. “It’s about that nocturnal feeling,” said Mr Theyskens. “It’s not about going out to party…It’s more about nocturnal moonlight” he added.

Actress Milla Jovovich was somewhat more straightforward. “Those girls were like something from a space age dream world,” she said. “It’s like what I would wear on stage.”

This was a far cry from the romance and classicism that made Nina Ricci a hit in the past. Gone was the glamorous show in Paris’s Tuileries Gardens. Instead, the fashion crowd was welcomed into a dark warehouse in the 13th Arrondissement.

Since Mr. Theyskens arrived at Nina Ricci in 2006, he has been hailed as a genius by critics. But perhaps in these tough economic times, genius isn’t enough.

Max Colchester Heard on the Runway, Wall Street Journal blog

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