Refinement & Focus on Fabrication from Nicole Farhi for S/S’13

by Katie on September 18, 2012

It’s impossible to write about Nicole Farhi’s latest womenswear collection without mentioning the appointment of Joanna Sykes as Creative Director back in July of this year.

Farhi is a very clever lady, you don’t remain head of a global label for thirty years if you aren’t, and understands that a brand can quickly become dusty without the injection of fresh thinking. The Ghost of Farhi Yet to Come, Sykes provided an effective makeover on Aquascutum before being shown the door following its acquisition by a Chinese conglomerate.

This might be why Farhi’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection felt like a bridging collection, or the elder designer passing the baton. It is also one of the most technically adept high street collections I’ve ever reviewed, whose folds and creases, clever use of textiles and outstanding construction distance it quite a way from competitors, the most successful example being the slim strips of leather which edge the gauzy pleated polyester.

The palette of chalky off-white, greys, and peachy nudes is inspired by Tuscan marble quarries and Edward Burtynsky’s large scale photographs of industrial landscapes. This is mirrored in the tiered fabrics and relief map prints, which echo the quarries’ exposed layers.

Embellishment is simultaneously subtle yet striking, the light occasionally catching the linear beading to devastating effect.

All of this sets the stage admirably for Joanna Sykes, a designer  with a background at a luxury European fashion house who’s spoken about in the same revered tones as Hannah MacGibbon of Chloé, and Phoebe Philo of Celine. Intelligent women designing for intelligent women, which has always been the ethos at Nicole Farhi.

Farhi may not have bowed out with a bang, but with a collection whose refinement and focus on fabrication forms a fitting tribute.

Reviewed by Lee Clatworthy (@TeamChutzpah) for Katie Chutzpah blog

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