It seems that Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh are finally finding their ground at Nina Ricci. In the storied salons of the maison‘s headquarters on rue Francois 1er, its designer duo had a generational confession to make: they use their phones for all kinds of creative tasks, including sketching. “They’re not beautiful sketches. Just quick things,” Herrebrugh noted, while her partner Botter added that he does observe “old school” procedures, too. In contrast, perhaps, to some members of the Paris establishment, these young designers’ natural relationships with their phones were what made this season’s digital show format so instinctive to them. They presented their Nina Ricci collection through the (imagined) recorded screen of an iPhone, scrolling the viewer through their research process, from Google searches to YouTube clips and exchanges on iMessage. What it didn’t reveal was the actual inspiration behind the collection: L’Air du Temps, the institutional fragrance Nina Ricci launched after the Second World War. Light and elegant, it cut a decided contrast to the dense perfumes of the old world. “It was a message of hope, optimism, and revival. That’s what we wanted to bring with this collection,” Herrebrugh said. Its flacon, designed by the Art Nouveau glass artist René Lalique, informed the cuts, colors, and movements of dresses. They had the inimitable touch of this designer duo: a splicing between the couture heritage of Nina Ricci and the swimwear techniques that are their personal obsession. The nature of that marriage – not unlike L’Air du Temps itself – is confrontational, but Herrebrugh and Botter are sticking to their guns and continuing to refine their take on Nina Ricci. “I feel like there’s a balance in this collection between our tailoring background and the codes of the house. We’re finding our own fluidity,” Herrebrugh said, referring to the menswear label they run on the side, which carries Botter’s name and earned them the Nina Ricci gig in the first place. Ironically, the most unassuming garment made the biggest impact: a tech-y pleated translucent blue blouse, which had the digital lightness expressed in the meeting between iPhones and the L’Air du Temps flacon. It was quite hypnotizing. Much like both of those inventions, the simplest designs are often the most enduring and made for a modern-day lady.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.