PARIS, France — According to rumours circulating in Paris, the Nina Ricci show today was the last for creative director Guillaume Henry. But who knows if this is true. Either way, the collection felt like a summary, capturing the ebbs and flows of Henry's tenure and in particular his difficulty with nailing the personality and style of the Ricci woman. So far, it's been a bumpy ride for Henry. Initially, as a way of cleaning the slate of its overtly French madame overtones, he opted for chilly, minimalism. It did not work. After that, the sultry Frenchness came back, but it looked a little contrived. Since then, Henry has managed to strike a better balance, doing his best to capture the complexities of contemporary femininity without loosing that requisite French touch. After all, here is a maison that prides itself on capturing l'air du temps — and bottling it.
This season the balance of opposites was particularly considered in a face-off of masculine and the feminine. The former informed the militaristic outerwear, and the gendarmerie-style trousers; the latter, well, was all about floaty blouses and bourgeois dresses. But things got a bit confused in the end. There was a lot thrown in the mix, from passementerie to veiled little hats. The Nina Ricci woman, however, remains a mystery.