From London to Paris: Richard Nicoll




When it comes to designers, Cerruti has had quite the revolving door over the last decade. But last year, the French house selected Richard Nicoll, a Central St. Martins graduate who previously worked for Marc Jacobs and shows his own line at London Fashion Week, to take the reins. Today, Cerruti is celebrating their new designer’s first year and will be opening its new boutique in Paris’s Place de la Madeleine tonight. We met Nicoll in the showroom this morning and, while looking at his latest collection, which infuses masculine structures and British extravaganza, we debated Paris vs. London over a café-crème.


ALICE PFEIFFER: Why did you choose to have a showroom instead of a fashion show?


RICHARD NICOLL: It felt like a sensible decision to do a presentation because it is more controllable, we’re able to focus on a smaller collection, with more potency. Because we went for a presentation, I took more a couturesque approach to the collection. We wanted to bring emphasis to the actual house and to the store opening.


Also, the slots left weren’t very strong, they were late in the week–and from last season’s experience, it just grated on people for a new house to be showing when we don’t really need to at this point. Now we’re focusing on the message and respecting the heritage of the house.


PFEIFFER: What is it, in a nutshell?


NICOLL: It is a mix of masculine and feminine tailoring, the structure versus the drape and chic elegance.


PFEIFFER: Why do you think Cerruti chose you?


NICOLL: My designs are founded in menswear, which is what I initially studied, so I suppose it was a natural match: my work has suits and tailoring but is also very feminine.


PFEIFFER: Cerrruti has had a rapid turnover of designers these past years–were so you scared to take over?


NICOLL: Obviously it was very challenging; but so far it’s been a great experience and hopefully it’ll last. But you never know, I’m on a three-season contract and next season is my last so we’ll see what the outcome is.


PFEIFFER: Do you think you have brought a certain Britishness to the French house?


NICOLL: Yes, I guess Cerruti was pretty interested in bringing Britishness to Paris. I deconstructed the idea of tailoring with the cutouts, bringing some modernity to the house. It’s nice to add the edge–or at least the perceived edge–that I naturally have from studying and working in London.


PFEIFFER: And what has your time here taught you?


NICOLL: It’s been a great experience to spend time in Paris; I think it’s really strengthened my experience to work with the kind of skill base you have here, to work with local embroiders for example. Also the team here has experience from Yves Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton, which is something you don’t find much in London.


PFEIFFER: And what is this collection all about?


NICOLL: I wanted to use earthy natural colors and fabric, raffia, linen, but use it in a kind of precious way. I looked at the house’s 1940s costumes, which had a lot of optical play on and took that as the initial standing point. I also looked at all of Paolo Roversi’s old campaigns for the house. There are no archives here, no actual clothes I could look at,  so images were the only thing that I have to base my archives on. I wanted to use their trademark sensuality and elegance, and create my take on Parisian chic.