The bar was set high for Nicholas K this week. Snowstorm Niko hit NYC in the twilight hours of Thursday morning. But, Fashion Week waits for no one. People trudged through the storm to see what the sister-brother design team had in store. Although there were white-out blizzard conditions outside, inside the house was packed for the Nicholas K F/W 2017 runway show. As the lights dimmed, hip hop music hit hard and loud with DJ Rob Swift spinning. Soon, local NY rapper Latasha Alcindor began to spit live over the beat. The energy was pulsing. The people were waiting. And boy, did they deliver.
This year’s theme was the 90’s but the collection seemed specifically to mirror many of the cultural, political, and technological revolutions in the 90’s: the release of Nelson Mandela signifying victory over apartheid in South Africa, the golden age of hip hop in the United States, and the spark of technological innovation towards the end of the 90’s that unified all corners of the globe. Making their way down the runway, most models donned an ornate septum ring and one single hoop adorned with what seemed to be a golden, elongated “claw”. Several models wore square sunglasses. Truly, though, the most unifying and striking of all the details worn were the leather berets and headbands that the models marched down the runway with, giving a uniquely militaristic feel throughout.
Beginning the collection with an oversized metallic gold leather jacket with a structured shearling collar and a matching gold leather beret, we were given the feel of a revolutionary leader, perhaps even a futuristic Black Panther: urban, courageous, and practical in style. The designs were richly gaudy in material (heavy velvets, metallic leathers, and flowing silks) and urban and utilitarian in style and structure (tie skirts and pants, artfully draped shift dresses, track pants, and jumpsuits). The color palette kept the theme cohesive and simple with designs in black, gold, crimson, and slate. There were barely any patterns but when there was they still remained within a very muted, focused realm (snake print, deconstructed plaid). When the longline, finely draped silhouettes that Nicholas K is known for came in throughout the show, the styling began to look a little bit more global in appearance. Another thing to notice about this collection is that it was not only born of an idea of the celebration of differences and unity, but it was also one of the most diverse shows on the runway with models of all kinds of backgrounds.
The designs were not so much dainty as they were daring. They were both badass and beautiful, sophisticated urban wear. When all of this merged, along with the pulsing hip hop rhythms of the performers, it created a thoughtful and fierce reminiscence of the high points of the 90’s. Marrying many trends, and movements with a fine tuned eye, Nicholas K effortlessly captured the momentous energy of the decade without adhering to the bright coloured novelty of the times.
Review by Azalea Fairley @ziggybombastic, images via Agentry PR.