As often the case, in fact as is most times, the case with a new designer debut at a house, it's not always a fully successful enterprise. It can be a bit of a bumpy road to navigate, ESPECIALLY, when replacing someone who had already left an indelible mark on the house and trying to struggle out of that shadow can be an immense pain in the hind quarters. Guillaume Henry faced just this challenge in his rather uneven, but on the whole, Solid and positive debut at Nina Ricci, filling the enormous space left behind by Peter Copping in his move to Oscar De La Renta.
Henry, having successfully brought the house of Carven back to life, was picked to succeed Copping to helm the house of Ricci, Now, Henry is very different a designer from Copping and that means that while both had to work with the essential DNA of the brand, their approach comes from radically different perspectives. The prime directive of the house of Nina Ricci is Femininity, and that remains the same in Henry's hands, but the achieving of that objective with Henry feels more playful and definitely more eccentric, More Modern even. There is a mixed metaphor message being played around with at the house for Fall 2015, Henry is juxtaposing Soft with Strict and Fluid with Tailored with a bit of Boudoir thrown in to top it off.
When Henry tried to inject some sheer, filmy frippery into the equation, he lost the tempo of the collection, these pieces seemed underachieved and sloppy, Even worse, a few outfits bordered, not on the good side, of Frumpy and Dowdy, like the ruched, gathered Navy lace tops and dresses and one purely Dreadful White long sleeve top and skirt in fine lace that just sank like a Lead Weight! Much more successful, a Silver Sequined T-Shirt Dress that glittered like Christmas morning and the White Sequined T-shirt dress which was the Star piece of the entire show and had an Ethereal yet Sporty spirit to it and louche, laid back elegance running through it!
This was no where near a Home Run (and all that fringe was not doing anything or anyone any favors) but it had the Germ of greatness buried deep in there. More often than not, Henry missed the mark, but when he did get it right, he showed he has the capability of transforming the house into something Special. Right now, He needs a good editing eye, and maybe a deeper immersion in the archives of the house, for he right now is crawling instead of confidently striding!