I’ve just been reading all the AW12 catwalk round-ups in Elle, Grazia and Vogue. Futuristic silhouettes, seductive goth and baroque over-embellishment feature heavily but they don’t excite me on a personal level. I’m more likely to get fired up over a macho coat or the perfect cigarette trouser so today’s breaking news about Joanna Sykes’ appointment at Nicole Farhi is a biggie for me.
Joanna Sykes first came to my attention with her own-name collection of minimalist workwear hero pieces. In particular, her silk shirts were celebrated for their superior cut, finish and fabrication. She then got snapped up by Matches to work her magic on its in-house Freda label, which is where I bought my favourite black silk shirt. Next, to Aquascutum where she was just hitting her stride with strong coats and slick, androgynous separates. A lot of us hoped for a Mulberry or Burberry-like transformation for Aquascutum; alas it wasn’t to be, as the brand was sold to Hong Kong-based YGM in May earlier this year, with Sykes leaving her position in June.
But now we hear Sykes has resurfaced at Nicole Farhi as creative director (her first collection will be Aw13), which when you think about it, is a rather excellent move. Everyone knows and loves Nicole Farhi but it doesn’t have the weighty baggage of Aquascutum. It’s a great British brand with a similar boy-girl sensibility to Sykes’ own, yet I imagine the new owners (Kelso Place Asset Management) will want to revitalise and reposition it, so hopefully will give Sykes the space and resources needed. (And time as well, but let’s face it, there’s never enough of that.)
Some have moaned that there’s nothing exciting going on in fashion at the moment but I can’t say i agree. The current wave of female designers coming through who place equal importance on functionality, comfort and design (Studio Nicholson is another name to look out for, as is Sophie Hulme) is excitement enough for me and I’m looking forward to seeing what Nicole Farhi will look like under the watch of Joanna Sykes.