Nina Ricci RTW Fall 2023

The invitation for Harris Reed’s debut collection as creative director of Nina Ricci featured a dreamy Jeanine Brito painting of a lamb nestling next to a glossy pink apple.

It was reminiscent of the apple-shaped bottle of the French house’s bestselling Nina fragrance, and summed up the designer’s “something old, something new” approach to the collection, which was rooted in the Ricci archives, yet true to his own stylistic signatures, from the gender-fluid cast to the cartwheel hats that topped many of the colorful outfits.

As teased by his red carpet look for British actress Florence Pugh at the BAFTA awards, Reed drew mainly from the ‘80s.

Precious Lee opened the show in a black polka-dot lampshade dress with an oversized bow, while Omahyra Mota rocked a massive pink feather version. Models squeezed past each other in giant hoop skirts, some in the same thick black-and-white stripes as the runway, which brought to mind Cecil Beaton’s costumes for Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady.”


Reed had clearly ignored the brief from the brand’s managing director Edwin Bodson. “He’s like, ‘Harris, make sure the person, they have to be able to get in and out of a taxi.’ And that was always the running joke of everything,” the designer said in a preview. 

Still, this was his vision of dialing it down. “Nina is like my commercial baby and Harris Reed is kind of like my high art,” he explained. “I think Paris Fashion Week sometimes can get a little bit too gimmicky and I really wanted to almost go to my fear, which is just show clothes.”

The most wearable offerings here were the suits, with wide lapels and flared pants, stretched to extra-long proportions thanks to platform shoes. Reed hopes to make the suits not only relatively affordable, but also available in an extended range of sizes, going up to a U.S. size 14 for his first season, and subsequently to size 18 and beyond. 

The shoes were strictly for the runway. Designed to give models a boost, they sometimes had the opposite effect by curbing their pace to a couture-like saunter, which felt out of sync with the upbeat soundtrack. 

Reed said he was looking to re-establish some signatures for Ricci, like the cocoon sleeves and exaggerated collars on his faux fur coats. If the result was a little cartoonish, he didn’t seem to mind. 

“My whole design process is kind of being in people’s faces,” he said. “I’m not trying to hide anyone; it’s hopefully magnifying them with big silhouettes, bright colors — you know, a lot of different kinds of uses and textures and materials.”

As a queer kid growing up in Arizona, he looked to Paris fashion as an escape. Now that he’s here, Reed has realized the local fashion scene is still not that diverse. “I wanted it to kind of look like who the new Nina family is,” he said. 

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