This season, Nicola Formichetti took his cotton candy vision of genderless fashion in a decidedly more mature direction.
The location was the big tip-off: the Down Town Association, one of Manhattan’s oldest private clubs, where you could sooner imagine a congregation of stodgy bowler-hatted old men smoking cigars in tufted chairs reading about stocks, than any event masterminded by the designer known for his work with Lady Gaga, Brooke Candy, Mugler and Diesel.
There, in a white wood-paneled room with ornate window dressings, Formichetti presented two tableaus. In the first, models stood defiantly on a floor covered with black trash bag material, as an old television set nearby displayed a pixelated white-noise screen; in the second, they lounged more casually throughout a carpeted room where the furniture was draped in pink and lilac silk, all of them as ominous as ghosts in an abandoned house, where the tables and chairs had all been covered to prevent gathering dust.
While Nicopanda’s signature masculine-feminine interplay was still one of the collection’s major features, the execution was much like the location: refined and imbued with a sense of luxury. Highlights included a hand-painted floor-length chiffon dress and a satin bomber jacket, amidst unisex dresses and skirts with subtler trimmings than in previous, more in-your-face seasons. Having enjoyed a playful smattering of oversized collars, zippers and ruffles in FW ’15, it appears the Nicopanda boy/girl grew up fast.
Of course, this wasn’t fashion for debutantes either. The streak of rebellion coursed strongly throughout: a black patent rain jacket hung over a tiered lace gown (worn by a skinhead), while a ruffled crop-top was paired with halter-style black leather overalls. Throughout, models wore wide-strapped sandals extending up the ankle—a cross between a ballerina lace-up and a moon boot.
The shift toward refinement brings something new to the Nicopanda brand: what youth culture can gain from the past can be as great as what it gains from the future.