Nicholas K SS12 Show — Muted Colors, Tons Of Layering, And A Nomadic Vibe
Focusing on a muted color palette can prove risky when staging a runway show — after all, audience members typically long for dashing crescendos that lead up to ever-rewarding in relievo moments, to those ecstasy-packed seconds when a piece truly takes their breath away. More often than not, these climactic peaks in the ebb-and-flow composition of a show involve pops of color, gravity-defying forms, sculptural shapes, and intricate embroideries or embellishments. Rarely does a “wow” moment involve a cornflower blue sundress or a camel-colored trench.
And yet the Nicholas K SS12 runway show, which took place yesterday at Lincoln Center, proved that sometimes it’s worth it to gamble on that “rarely.” This season, the men’s and women’s fashion brand focused on soft hues commonly found in nature: sandy beige, a yellow-ish cream hue (labeled “sponge” in the show line-up), kelp green, azure, olive green, ecru, deep green (referred to as “algae”), dimmed coral red (“lobster”), birch, crisp white, metallic peachy pink (dubbed “shell”), periwinkle, golden mustard (referred to as conch), dark gray (dubbed “shark”), charcoal, navy, muted lavender, heather gray, and stark black. The show opened with resplendent whites — the type you see hanging from clotheslines on farm yards in the movies — then moved into island shores with golden beiges, bits of taupe resembling wet sand, creamy off-white shades recalling sand dollars, tan shades reminiscent of the driftwood piled up along the beachside, muted straw yellows reflecting the colors of starfish and sponges, and luminous coral-tinged peach pinks and bronze-dipped tans resembling conch shells. Next, we transitioned into the deep sea, with dark gray shades meant to reference sharks and softer grays mirroring dolphins’ surfaces, lime-tinged aquamarine and forest greens capturing the intensity of algae and kelp, and turquoise, navy, and azure shades alluding to the ocean expanse. Last, we were treated to a bevy of grays and blacks capturing the abysmal yet enticing quality of the open sea at night.
But what made so many of the looks so refreshing was the clever styling — the way in which trenches, capelets, and wide-collared jackets were layered over ethereal, lightweight tunics, tanks, and dresses, with leggings peeking underneath shorter hemlines for an urban twist and chunky ankle-wrap platform shoes infusing a downtown cool vibe.
Cuts and silhouettes were also a priority: long sweaters fell below the shoulders and hung loosely, their slashed sleeves and flouncy hemlines adding a laissez-faire attitude; taupe-colored blouses, worn unbuttoned over tanks, cascaded down to the knee, the edges of their front panels undulating in ocean-like forms; a heather gray, zip-front jacket made of a sweatshirt-like material boasted a dramatic collar and cape-like sleeves; and hooded, lightweight jersey cover-ups added a nomadic, free-spirited quality to key looks.
The styling was, for the most part, spot-on, with mesh carves and tie-dye scarves used as head wraps for a gypsy-esque effect, sunglasses exuding an urban glam mystique, and cuff bracelets with fringed trim reinforcing the collection’s organic, earthy roots. Sure, there were a few mishaps — when sweatpant-like shorts were layered over leggings and paired with bulky sweaters the result was more Sweating To The Oldies than earthy glam — but, overall, the collection perfectly captured that hipster chic feel we’ve come to associate with Nicholas K.
Some of the most noteworthy pieces were: the glossy black, Elsie Long leather jacket with rolled-up sleeves (pictured above), which featured an amazing cropped cut along the back, falling above the waist to reveal an open lower back; a knit cape sweater with a watercolor-esque combination of muted peach, algae green, lavender, periwinkle blue, and taupe (pictured above); a cropped, short-sleeved, heather gray jacket with a sculpted double collar and a flared hemline creating a tulip-like effect; and the Grecian-inspired, draped maxi Shiloh dress in a grayish azure shade (as seen last above) that closed the show.
And, of course, who could resist those head scarves?