Crop tops are everywhere in Paris this week. No wonder, you might think, given the chaleur extrême of 36-degree heat currently engulfing the city. But the Parisienne is not a woman who habitually dares to bare. What changed? “It’s in the air, everybody is feeling free,” says Nana Baehr, design director at Nina Ricci, whose interim spring collection in the absence of a creative director (Lisi Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter exited in January) made use of cropped lengths and lots of leg, to boot.
Baehr had been inspired to show some skin, she said in a preview, by the spirit of youthful rebellion that threads through the 1970 Antonioni movie Zabriskie Point. “I watched it when I had Covid; it’s about a young couple who meet in the desert, during the war in Vietnam, so it’s all about rebellion and protest, and I found so many parallels with what we are living today,” she ventured. “I saw this kind of modern minimalist hippy.” The collection accordingly had a light, airy vibe, its accompanying imagery captured against the backdrop of Salin d’Aigues-Morte, the otherworldly salt marshes and pink lakes that played host to Jacquemus earlier this summer. Deadstock organza was twisted into petal-shaped tops and paired with micro-shorts, while parachute silks dyed in smudgy florals comprised wafting dresses and shirts with ballooning sleeves. A lightweight-wool suit in candy pink was cut to show off a house signature, the caped back, while a strapless embellished jumpsuit offered a relaxed take on evening wear.
Inevitably, the brand faces a tough test to get back in the swing of things in a merciless fashion cycle that demands artistic vision, viable product, and serious buzz—all at the same time. Well-known for its fragrances, it has cycled through designers in recent years. A new creative director will be announced in the next few months, and the incumbent will be charged with launching an accessories business. Baehr mentioned that shoes and handbags will be a focus, and possibly setting up collaborations (Robert Ricci, Nina’s son, once worked with artists including Sol LeWitt and Andy Warhol), as well as doubling down on digital. Whoever gets the gig, their aim should arguably be on restoring sophisticated softness to the house. As Baehr puts it: “I think there is a lot of space for modern femininity, and we have to grab that, because it belongs to us, it’s been part of the brand since the very beginning.”