Nicole Farhi presented her AW11 collection to a select crowd at Harvey Nichols Edinburgh on Thursday evening, and I went along to blog for The Daydreamer and Vogue.com.
The Nicole Farhi catwalk show was being held on the third floor of Harvey Nichols, and as always, I was excited to step off the escalator and into the dreamland that is womenswear. I love Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh – the layout and decor is stylish (their window displays just now are amazing) and the Forth Floor restaurant is quirky but luxurious, with an awesome view of St Andrews Square. All this, without losing that all-important personal touch, which I think stems from the fact that the store is not too big.
As the guests arrived at the Nicole Farhi section, they were greeted with a glass of Harvey Nichols champagne and encouraged to browse the mainline and diffusion Farhi collections before the show. I was mesmerised by some of the clothes, meaning I was almost last to be seated (front row, sans champagne – this was work, after all!) so I squeezed my way in between two attractive blonde ladies who had both brought their husbands along to enjoy the party. (The lady on my left was delightful; she was enthusiastic about fashion and art and told me that she loved Nicole Farhi because Farhi designs clothes that she can wear, as well as her daughters).
When the show began and the first model walked out, there was an obvious murmur of appreciate for the first look; a cashmere and wool coat in camel and white, worn over a cream polo neck and camel wide leg trousers, accessorised with a leather tote and tortoiseshell, 60s style sunglasses.
As the models walked the runway (both male and female) it was obvious that after 30 years in the industry, Nicole Farhi still has her magic touch for designing relaxed yet incredibly chic tailoring. The menswear collection featured wool and tweed coats and a particularly great woollen suit with linen lapel detailing and that seems to be the thing this season for Farhi, who has put a major focus on the detail of the clothes, the hidden extra touches. In the women’s collection, a draped wool skirt has tough buckle detail, while a wool dress has incredible square rubber embellishment – both adding a modern edge to classic tailoring.
My favourite pieces from Farhi’s personally selected show case in Edinburgh were the Parisian spot jersey dress in navy and ecru, the wool sienna red dress (so simple, so elegant – reminded me of the Victoria Beckham AW11 collection), the black chiffon and metallic cocktail dress (this is the must-have of the collection – it would suit any woman, of any age, for any evening occasion) and the aforementioned camel coat and embellished dress. If I could, I would buy every piece as I can guarantee they would last a lifetime.
The best part of the evening was being given the opportunity to talk to the designer herself. An insanely chic French woman (of Turkish heritage), the first thing you notice about Farhi is her mass of curly hair. The second is her effervescent smile and sparkling, almost mischievous eyes. She seems to be a woman well travelled and well cultured which is most likely fulled by the obvious curiosity she displayed: she was forever asking questions of people. While we spoke about both her current summer collection and her new collection, she was very aware of everything going on around her (of course – it’s not from dawdling along that she’s been such an incredible success in an incredibly cut-throat industry) but yet she still asked me about Dundee – although after telling her it was quite industrial and describing the current works to improve the waterfront, her attention was quickly lost.
Nicole Farhi is a confident and determined woman with a very clear, very precise vision; a winning combination which, along with her winning smile, makes for a very strong force that has developed and sustained the Farhi empire. Nicole Farhi now includes a womenswear line, a diffusion line, a menswear line, an accessories collection (which recently introduced sunglasses based on iconic actresses including Sofia Loren and Grace Kelly) and a homeware collection. The most impressive part of all this? That Farhi shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
With thanks to the Communications Teams at both Harvey Nichols Edinburgh and Nicole Farhi.
All photographs taken on my iPhone4, which explains the low quality of some!