While the theme of gender fluidity was to be expected from the new artistic director of the brand Nina Ricci, who appointed himself as the rightful ambassador of the matter, Harris Reed debuted with inclusivity and generous shapes for his first official show at the Paris Fashion Week.
This has evoked comments online on the subject of larger sizes, specifically from people who are bothered by this evolution of body shapes on the catwalk, or to be even more specific, people who think the brand encourages obesity. Comments by social media users included one that described the collection as “not classy” and said “a size 50 is bad for your health”. Another suggested former artistic director Gérard Pipart “would pull his hair out” seeing it.
The fact of the matter is that the zeitgeist, an expression that fits so well with the Nina Ricci brand, has changed. After years of skinny models, the younger designers (Harris Reed is 26 years old) are keen to break the clichés. People within the fashion scene were not in the wrong, calling this first fall/winter 2023-2024 collection "breathtaking". "As a gay kid growing up in Arizona, French fashion was my escape," says Harris Reed in the release. “Nina Ricci matched my idea of Paris: dreamy romance and a deep respect for femininity."
Femininity and frivolity, the new extravaganza of luxury at Nina Ricci
Fashion model Precious Lee, an icon among the plus size community with 431,000 followers on Instagram, opened the walk in a puffy, all-transparent cocktail dress made from black polka dot taffeta. An explosion of colours followed (turquoise, fuchsia, grass green, orange, lemon yellow), showcasing chic pant suits as well as astounding evening gowns. Precious Lee gave glam back to Cruella, albeit focussing on synthetics rather than puppies, with a wafer-thin black and white faux fur jacket.
Several prints in the collection (the rabbit model for example) and the design of the show’s invitations were adapted from paintings of German artist Jeanine Brito, whose figurative work evokes a certain feminine voluptuousness, not so much in the curves as in the languorous attitudes. As for the platform shoes, which are comparable to those worn by drag queens, they have generated multiple "wows" on Tik Tok that might spark a revival and a commercial craze for this 2023 Nina Ricci version.
This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.FR. Translation and edit by: Cenia Zitter.