PFW: NINA RICCI S/S 2014

When the day started, about the only people too terribly excited about the Nina Ricci spring/summer line were those directly connected with it. Oh yes, all the tickets were taken and the seats were full, because such is the nature of fashion week in Paris. But previous seasons have not seen Peter Copping taking too many risks or doing anything terribly adventurous. If anything, Nina Ricci has a reputation for being a rather conservative label.

All of that changed with today’s show.

Let’s start with the fact that Copping seems obsessed with shades of white and sent practically nothing else down the runway. Strong on romanticism, everything had a touch of lingerie feeling to it, even with masculine jackets, waistcoats and button down shirts. There are particular elements indicating he has designed a fantasy line for every man’s favorite girl, but has managed to still keep things accessible.

Silhouettes included shirt dresses in cotton voile with a Victorian touch, pleat-front silk dresses, chiffon ruffles, white skirt suits, and the most delicate embroideries. Add some crystal and mirror touches here and there and one has a line delightfully fresh and different from what the label has shown in previous seasons.

Had the show ended with that note, no one would have been disappointed. Copping has created a line that women are going to love and is inevitably looking at considerable retail success next spring. However, the show had some unexpected drama, the kind which made it news worthy more outside fashion circles than in.

About two-thirds through the show, there was a noise in back and, before anyone could do much more than blink, there were two topless girls, obviously NOT models, running down the catwalk towards British model Hollie-May Saker. The girls, protesters for the Ukranian-based organization FEMEN, lifted Ms. Saker’s skirt and grabbed her by the arm, attempting to remove her from the catwalk.

The model’s response: she punched the closest one in the face.

A very large member of the security team quickly closed in, grabbed the two protesters from behind (a rather hilarious picture caught by Associated Press), and escorted them out. Formal charges are pending.

The model wasn’t hurt, thankfully, and continued her walk. The audience, which is rather accustomed to spectacle at fashion shows, took it all in stride. The rest of the show continued as though nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.

Ms. Saker tweeted to the protester later: “Sorry not sorry for punching you in the face.”

At the end of the day, the Nina Ricci label and Hollie-May Saker received a lot of free publicity courtesy a couple of girls who will likely be shipped straight back to the Ukraine. The fashion world, in general, giggled for a moment and moved on. It takes more than bare breasts to get anyone here excited.

After all, this is Paris.

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