Over a five-year tenure at old-school Carven, Guillaume Henry has been working magic for the brand’s revival on the high-couture fashion stage. In this light, his appointment in 2014 as creative director at Nina Ricci came as no surprise.
The collaboration proved to be more than auspicious.
Nina Ricci’s nostalgic penchant for sophistication and discreet elegance could not have found a better translation than in the designer’s signature style. A look of groomed sloppiness – no less paradoxical than organized chaos.
Sequined separates and transparent lace sewn into cropped jackets. This is Guillaume Henry’s offering to the modern, ingénue girl.
The type of woman whose emotional pillars run strong and high enough to enable her to pull an oversized, heavy coat over a delicate, soul-revealing dress. In addition, the poet-designer describes his ideal Nina Ricci dress.
‘It’s a little broken, like you danced in it all night long.’
Nina Ricci and Guillaume Henry – A Fashion Match Made in High-Couture Heaven
The Fashion House
Maria Ricci, known as Nina to her customers, founded the Parisian fashion house in 1932 together with her son, Robert Ricci. She quickly made a brand out of a small business in war-torn Europe.
Her designs became famous for the romantic, refined, and luxurious sensibility that endures to present-day collections.
Another popularity boost for the Nina Ricci haute couture house came soon after the war when Robert, the son, made his second attempt in creating the best-selling fragrance of all times. He succeeded with L’Air du Temps – a floral blend of jasmine, rose, gardenia, carnation, and sandalwood contained in a wing designed package famous to this day.
Fast forward in 2014, when Nina Ricci went in search of a new commercially viable creative director. The brand’s eternal quest for frothy femininity was almost instinctively drawn to Guillaume Henry’s principles on the shimmering, effortless silhouette of a woman.
“I was nine when I knew I wanted to be a designer”, says the 37-year old Parisian in an interview for Elle.
A very young age for a boy from Langres, a small charming French village of fewer than 10,000 inhabitants, to pinpoint his future.
True to his childhood dream, Henry studied at the Institut Français de la Mode. After graduation, Givenchy took him under the wings of creative director Julien Macdonald.
Henry didn’t waste any time in spotlighting his name in the fashion industry. After a brief stint with sportswear label Paul Ka in 2009, he left for Carven. The rest is history.
The young, handsome, and trim Parisian charmed Carven’s owner into his own vision of the ‘Carven woman’. Henry pushed the refresh button of the 69-year-old haute couture fashion house.
He turned the rusty, slumbering, Miss-Havisham like dresses into ready-to-wear girlish, yet elegant garments.
Carven now catered to the red carpet again. Trendsetters of the age like Beyonce, Isabelle Huppert, and Rihanna started wearing Henry’s designs.
Furthermore, Guillaume Henry has proved he can carry a runway success across different brands or style boundaries with Nina Ricci.
He did not forego his ideal Parisian woman. In his view, the cool girl of the day should display more discreetness and concentrated levels of mystery. The pizzazz reflected in most American fashion labels is old news already.
‘The Nina Ricci woman, she’s got a slip dress, a man’s coat, and just a touch of L’Air du Temps on her neck. That’s all. It’s a woman you see on the street and you ask, ‘Where is she coming from?’ more than ‘Where is she going?’ It’s her little own mystery.’