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The Fashion Industry Reacts to the Tragic Loss of Designer Richard Nicoll

Richard Nicoll, a designer who studied at Central Saint Martins and launched an eponymous label of women’s and men’s clothes in London, died today in Sydney at the age of 39. Having...

Richard Nicoll, a designer who studied at Central Saint Martins and launched an eponymous label of women’s and men’s clothes in London, died today in Sydney at the age of 39. Having put his signature brand on hold, he was on the verge of a new chapter, having accepted a job at adidas as creative director. Today, friends and colleagues around the world are mourning his tragic loss.  


I met him when I was 20 years old and was mesmerized from that moment on. He introduced me to a world and an industry that I never thought I’d ever be part of. His taste was impeccable, his presence was captivating, and his talent was undeniable. His work on his MA at Saint Martin’s was the best in his year by a mile. The vision he had, and the clothes he created still inspire me to this day. It was a beautiful world of raw glamour–silver and incredible color. He has broken hearts and frustrated all of his friends at times, but we have all been privileged to know this incredible boy. He was such a “punish,” but I love him. We hurt each other throughout the years but I will never forget him. His potential still had not been shown to the world, but all who really knew him knew he was one of the best of our generation. He was happiest in the sunshine and I’m glad he was in Sydney with Jane and with people who loved him, although I wish he was with all who love him in London who mourn his loss. My heart goes out to his family Robin, Sophie, Allan, Lorraine, and Jane and all who loved him dearly. We are all painfully sad and broken hearted about this.—Jonathan Saunders, chief creative officer, Diane Von Furstenberg

Richard was ahead of his times and had a very particular subtle charm; his vital energy and intelligence made him the center of our circle, although he hated cliques and always made everyone feel welcome with his generosity and kindness. His progressive questioning mind and focus on subjects like modernity and strong women and his introduction of artists such as Linder and Judy into his work always left me inspired and optimistic. He was my little brother and North Star and partner in crime. We are deeply mourning his loss here in London today.—Lulu Kennedy, founder and director of Fashion East and MAN

I was incredibly lucky to know Richard both personally and professionally. He was always generous with his time, his friendship and for me personally his garments. I’d go to his studio on Kingsland Road for a cuppa and would always leave with something in a bag: a gold dress he’d originally made for Uma Thurman, a Sterling print silk tee, a gingham shirt with a frill neck and a giant mirrored heart badge, “there you go Cozette Queen Of Hearts!” I worked with him FOH for his shows, as well as giving him advice if asked. And then, when Sid and I started SIBLING he’d find jobs for me so that I could pay my bills while doing something I loved. I’m in total shock at the news, it’s hitting me in waves of disbelief and sorrow. I’ll miss his cheeky face, smile, and laugh.—Cozette McCreery, director, Sibling 

This is an incredibly sad day for everyone who knew him, his family, of course, and in particular his mum Robin. I’ve known Richard since he was 20 when he was my GORGEOUS “alterations boy” at my first shop. I think women wanted to shorten their hemlines just so we could get him to come in and pin! I still can’t believe those intensely beautiful blue eyes are closed. He looked so deeply into you that it was almost intimidating. We all remember the rise and rise of his brand and all those stand out collections at LFW. He was strong, had no problem fighting if he didn’t agree (I saw that first hand). There was no bullshit ever and he had the hottest cheekiest grin. When he closed down his label all he wanted to do was earn money to pay everyone he owed back, and he did. Damn good intentions and always honest. Last time I saw him was earlier this year in Oz, he jogged two miles to our house, fit, beautiful as always and happy about his new direction in life. Always searching, always ready to have a deep deep chat about everything real. God what a loss.—Yasmin Sewell, fashion director, Style.com

Richard was ahead of his time with the way he married high performance sportswear and elegant refinement, then injected a shot of steamy sex into the union. And he was the physical embodiment of all that: sporty, sensual, with an elegance that was almost feline. Plus a bone-dry sense of humor, and fabulous taste in music. He thought so hard about what he did–often, he /over/-thought–but fortunately the clothes usually managed to speak for themselves. I just wish more people had been listening. There should have been so much more, but he got tired of banging his head against a brick wall. Still, Richard’s collections for men and women will endure as high points in London’s renaissance.—Tim Blanks, editor at large, Business of Fashion

The boy with the laughing azure eyes stood out so much on my first day at Central Saint Martins. A shade so prominent throughout his collections. Louise Wilson asked us to write our favorite designer on a piece of paper, and she grouped us across disciplines to present; Richard and I were “Helmut Lang.” Richard always gravitated towards clean sportif lines, making them his signature also. The London fashion community is tightly bound and grows up together. His energy and laughter will be so missed by too many to mention. I shot him for British Vogue fashion fund in 2012 with Cara in his East End studio—their playful spirits bouncing off each other, both in mirrored glasses from his collection. Happier times.—Emma Elwick-Bates, Vogue Fashion News Editor

Richard was extremely talented and had the sensitive spirit of a true artist. He had a gentle charisma and was loved by so many people. We will all miss him dearly.—Jaime Perlman, British Vogue Creative Director

So saddening, Richard has such a beautiful spirit. He will be so missed by so many who were lucky to have had him as a friend.—Nicholas Kirkwood, founder, Nicholas Kirkwood

Richard was the gentlest of souls and it was an honor to work with him. His kindness and compassion were an example to us all. I remember his show at the Bluebird Cafe . . . the block colors, the white shirt finale. It was Richard at his very best. I am deeply sorry we will not see his next chapters. He had so much more to give. The industry has lost one of its quietly brilliant, forward-thinking, creative talents.—Daniel Marks, partner and chief creative officer, The Communications Store   

I don’t even know where to start. Richard was completely authentic, so unusually honest, deeply aware of himself and others. He was one of those people who got it, in that way that everyone around him knows. Of course he was beautiful, but his humor was his most devastating aspect. That near-whisper, stating the obvious in the most hilarious way. That perfect moment of eye contact, where you always knew he knew. He was a brother to me, and I am deeply grateful for every moment we shared.—Erin Beatty, cofounder and creative director, Suno

I am deeply shocked and saddened to hear of Richard’s passing. He was the most gentle of men, gifted and talented, a beautiful soul. There was so much more to come, it pains me that we won’t get to see it. He will be sorely missed.—Russell Marsh, founder, Russell Marsh Casting

 

Source Vogue.com

Image Getty Images



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