By Rachel Dean
Described as a contemporary Coco Chanel, Maria “Nina” Nielli Ricci founded her fashion house Nina Ricci in 1932 with the help of her husband and son. She moved to Paris from Italy at the age of thirteen where the fashion bug bit her. Ricci was 49-years-old when she established her business and lacked a desire to acquire any major fame. Ricci wanted to “create very pretty, wearable clothes” and she had great success. Her immaculate tailoring and designs were adored by all. Style.com’s Nicole Phelps has dubbed Ricci’s label “as femme as it gets” and I’m inclined to agree. The brand consistently shows romantic and feminine garments that make you want to watch Titanic and dance through a garden of roses while singing Norah Jones.
Although Ricci didn’t request fame, she got it regardless. By the fifties, Nina’s couture garments were in stores such as Bergdorf Goodman. In 1959, Jules-Francois Crahay took over as creative director of the fashion house. Staying true to Nina’s style, Crahay designed dreamy, flowing garments that The New York Times declared as “the epitome of the feminine.” Crahay left shortly after where he passed the torch to French designer Gerard Pipart, where he remained creative director for the next three decades. By 1998 the couture business had strayed away and it was up to designer Nathalie Gervais to revive the brand and concentrate on its ready-to-wear collections. Gervais didn’t last long and was replaced with Lars Nilsson to continue on with the ready-to-wear empire. Although Nilsson doubled fashion sales for Nina, he left the company in 2006 and the house brought on Oliver Theyskens.
The company not only had designers going in out and constantly, but they also picked ones that an uncultured American like myself couldn’t pronounce the names of. Oliver worked on accessories while he was there and tried changing things up with gothic styles in 2009, until finally they hired Peter Copping…a name I can pronounce; you can imagine my excitement. Peter still rocks the original, classic Nina Ricci look and his work is to die for. Some major celebrities that are dedicated Nina Ricci fans include the classy Reese Witherspoon, the iconic Nicole Kidman, the adorable Anne Hathaway, and the girl we all wonder how she even became famous, Kim Kardashian. Those names alone are a strong tell of the brand’s target market. Young, feminine women that could easily have a leading role in an 18th century love story. (Except for Kim, of course. I imagine she’ll be preparing for her role as Snooki in “Jersey Shore: The Movie) The newest face of Nina Ricci (or their perfume, more specifically) is 19-year-old model Frida Gustavs. Frida’s advertisements, as well as all other models for the company, follow suit with the brand’s image. Of course it has the Nina Ricci buzz word “feminine” and includes a lot of pink. But hey, what’s more feminine than pink?
Phelps, N. (September 26, 2013) Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear Nina Ricci. Retrieved January 28, 2014 from www.style.com
Nina Ricci. (2011) Voguepedia. Retrieved January 28, 2014 from http://www.vogue.com
Nina Ricci. Fashionbase. Retrieved January 28, 2014 from http://www.fashionbase.com
Interview with Frida Gustavsson (October 2012) Retrieved January 28, 2014 from http://www.vougue.fr