richard nicoll's muses
As the deeply saddening news of Richard Nicoll's death passes through the industry, i-D reflect on his huge impact on fashion and the legacy he will leave. Here, we revisit a 2011 feature, spotlighting the women who had a profound effect on the...
Jen Brill, 31, photo agent
What do you do and why do you do it? I work on projects, with people. Describe yourself... Sagittarius with Virgo rising. Describe your art... I don't make art but I often work with people who do. Dreams and ambitions? Peace of mind and everything else will fall into place. What is the last dream you had? I never remember my dreams. Do you have a recurring dream or nightmare? No. What takes you to Cloud 9? The ocean and the sun. In a dream world where do you see yourself in the future? I'm far too practical to answer this question.
Richard Nicoll's muses are the kind of girls you want to be friends with. Savvy, stylish, con dent and creative, Greta, Gwendoline, Jamie, Jen, Jo, Josephine, Julie, Linder, Louise, Lulu, Meera, Robyn, Roksanda, Sara, Sarah and Siobhan know exactly who they are, where they're going and what they want from life. They're the perfect companions to share a bottle of wine with, put the world to rights, brainstorm ideas, let your hair down and even dance the night away. For Richard, one of London's most brilliant and highly respected designers, their intelligence, talent, beauty, approachability and humility inspires his expression. After all, there's nothing more attractive than someone happy in their own skin. "Their collective persona creates the perfect imperfect woman," Richard tells i-D. "Together they're strong, empathetic, creative and unique." A winning combination, we're sure you'd agree.
So what is a muse, and more importantly why are journalists so fascinated by them? It's a question that has intrigued Nicoll ever since graduating from Central Saint Martins and launching his eponymous womenswear label in 2005. "'Do you have a muse', or 'who is your muse?' is the arbitrary question that every fashion designer is asked over and over again," he says. "I always reply that I don't have one muse as such, but many, each one a different character, age, body type and style." In this portfolio, Richard illustrates the diversity of his muses, from his mum Robyn Lynch, a stylish solicitor with a passion for cocktails, to his good friends (and fellow designers) Roksanda Ilincic and Louise Gray, to the model, actress, singer (and recently married) Josephine De Baume. "I'm drawn to each and everyone of my muses by a) a school boy crush b) admiration c) awe and d) a feeling of instant wicked camaraderie."
Sara Blomqvist, 22, model
What do you do and why do you do it? I fell in to modelling, but now I have a lot of fun and love what I'm doing. Describe yourself... I'm a grounded girl from the countryside. My parents are a huge inspiration to me and I love mashed potatoes with gravy. Or anything with gravy. Describe your art... As a model people think you're not really doing much of the creating, but I try to put my stamp on every picture I take. Dreams and ambitions? To keep doing things that make me happy, and to experience and see as much as possible. If you could change the world what would you do? I'd make sure we don't fuck with nature as much. I'm a believer of developing and inventions, but I think we need to become less greedy. What is the last dream you had?At the moment I'm in Sweden shooting a lm, so I keep dreaming about the people I've spent very long, intense days with. Sometimes I get very confused and think what I dreamt was real, which usually makes me feel really weird until I realise it wasn't! Do you have a recurring dream or nightmare? I used to have recurring nightmares when I was younger, and I was really freaked out because my best friend told me it would come true if you dream it three times. What takes you to Cloud 9? Laughing with my friends and being loved by my boyfriend.
Louise Gray, 29, fashion designer
What do you do and why do you do it? I'm a designer, it's my job. Describe yourself... Married, Scottish, blonde. Describe your art... Colour, fun, for women. Dreams and ambitions? To always remain interested in life, to carry on collecting bits and reading stuff, and to continue to work and embrace. If you could change the world what would you do? I'd make people believe in themselves, and I'd encourage living and positivity. What is the last dream you had? I dreamt I was swimming with my cat. I felt joyous. Do you have a recurring dream or nightmare? I constantly dream I'm dropping my initialled signet ring, and having it stood on and squished by a blob/ giant, or that I'm shrinking. What takes you to Cloud 9? Good friends and a really great song to dance to.
Julie Verhoeven, 42, artist/ designer/ illustrator
What do you do and why do you do it? I draw, paint, produce stuff and make a mess because I have no conceivable alternative. Dreams and ambitions? Excessive amounts of cash and time for an excessive, exhausting, limitless output.
Siobhan Lyons, 27, stylist
What do you do and why do you do it? I often ask myself the same question. I'm a stylist. It's one of the most misunderstood and stressful jobs there is and not as glamorous as it sounds. Dreams and ambitions? I don't want to be a millionaire nor drive a fancy car, I just want to do what I love and be creative.
Sarah Mower, fashion writer
What do you do and why do you do it? I'm a fashion writer and critic for US Vogue and Vogue.com, but also an agitator for helping young designers in London. The British Fashion Council gave me the title Ambassador for Emerging Talent. Describe yourself... Very lucky to be a woman living in a time when I can have three children, multiple jobs, lots of treasured friends and see London fashion flourishing.
Jo Knight, 37, Richard Nicoll's business partner
What do you do and why do you do it? I'm Richard Nicoll's business partner. Why...? Because I believe. Dreams and ambitions? I dream of beach life most days but the real dream is to make a success of our company and be able to nurture other creative successes within it.
Linder Sterling, 56, artist
What do you do and why do you do it? This still remains to be realised. Describe yourself... Excessive if not controlled. Describe your art... supramentalised plasticity. Dreams and ambitions? Organised emotional broadening. If you could change the world, what would you do? Wealth in all domains and all activities, intellectual, psychological, material, in feeling and action. What is the last dream you had? Intense need for order, light and knowledge in the subconscient penumbra. Do you have a recurring dream or nightmare? By its very nature the psychic is tranquil. What takes you to Cloud 9? Skillful hands, precise care, sustained attention, and one compels Matter to obey spirit. In a dream world where do you see yourself in the future? All work at the service of beauty. Answers taken from: The Mother: The Spiritual Signi cance of Flowers copyright Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 2000.
Lulu Kennedy, 41, founder of Fashion east and Lulu & Co
What do you do and why do you do it? I set up the Fashion East and MAN projects to help young fashion designers. I have also launched Lulu & Co - a clothing label. I do what I do 'cos I totally feel like doing it and I love the designers! Describe yourself... unplanned and led by instinct. Describe your art... Haphazard, fun based, collective. Dreams and ambitions? To live in the Mexican jungle and have a family, for my business to flourish and my team to be happy. I'd also like to see more of my friends. If you could change the world, what would you do? I'd clean up all the crap we've ruined the planet with and put brilliant new people in charge of running stuff. What is the last dream you had? Last night I dreamt I was eating mulberries off the tree in my mum's garden with her on a sunny day, it was a really happy dream. Do you have a recurring dream or nightmare? I dream I can y a lot. It's the best feeling. What takes you to cloud 9? Sunshine + the jeep + friends + lovers = perfect. In a dream world, where do you see yourself in the future? Commuting between the jungle and London, still doing what I love. Hopefully I'll be a bit wiser as well as older!
Gwendoline Christie, actress
What do you do and why do you do it? I act. I don't have a choice. Dreams and aspirations? One day I'd really like to writhe in a hip hop video looking fresh. If you could change the world what would you do? I'd make sure no bed was ever shorter than nine foot long. I would do this with my wand. What is the last dream you had? Last night I dreamt I had to have my long hair cut short on a lm set and I woke up in tears. Do you have a recurring dream or nightmare? I have had a recurring dream since entering puberty where I decide to have a large tattoo, usually a sprawling Chinese dragon design, across the inside of my thigh, and then instantly and deeply regret it. What takes you to Cloud 9? Ten cans of lager. In a dream world, where do you see yourself in the future? In the future.
Joséphine de la Baume, 26, actress/ singer
Describe yourself... I'm a teenage boy stuck in a woman's body. Describe your art... with both acting and music I try to be honest and reveal something personal, it's when one is honest that it becomes magical. Dreams and ambitions? I want to live for a really long time. If you could change the world, what would you do? I would try to improve women's status in the Middle East, I nd it revolting how centuries behind they are and how horribly they are treated. The information portraying a more modern image of women would have to be passed along through education to younger generations. What is the last dream you had? I recently dreamt I was on holiday in Iraq. I felt I had gone to the wrong destination, it was scary and sad. Do you have a recurring dream or nightmare? No, I don't. What takes you to Cloud 9? Love and chocolate fondant. In a dream world, where do you see yourself in the future? I'd like to have starred in a lot of exciting movies, have written a lot of beautiful songs with my band SINGTANK, and to have tonnes of bratty children running around.
Roksanda Illincic, 35, fashion designer
What do you do and why do you do it? I'm a fashion designer. I do it because there is nothing I have ever wanted to do so much. Describe your art... I love experimenting with unusual colour combinations and different kinds of contrasts: contrasts of textures, shapes and ideas. What is the last dream you had? I cannot remember. When I have a dream it's usually a nightmare and therefore I want to forget them as soon as possible! Do you have a recurring dream or nightmare? Yes, I used to dream the same dream over and over again. It's like a nightmare you cannot escape from. The funny part was that it involved a giant spider - actually it was a bit similar to The Cure's Lullaby video. What takes you to Cloud 9? Efimia's smile. In a dream world where do you see yourself in the future? I see myself in a happy dream full of love!
Robyn Lynch, Richard Nicoll's mum
What do you do, and why do you do it? I'm a solicitor. I love it and I get bags of job satisfaction. Describe yourself... I'm very positive and strong. Describe your art... 'I knit, therefore I am.' My cocktail gloves are renowned. Dreams and ambitions? To reach 100 years old, fit and with all my faculties. What takes you to Cloud 9? Qantas Airways.
Meera Sleight, 32, textile designer
Dreams and ambitions? I don't dream about the future. I wanted to be a pirate when I was a child, that didn't work out so well. What takes you to Cloud 9? My love, Sasa. In a dream world, where do you see yourself in the future? Happy, healthy, free. Hopefully with a beach nearby too.
Jaime Perlman, art director British Vogue
What do you do, and why do you do it? I'm the Art Director for British Vogue, and I do it because I love it. Dreams and ambitions? I'm lucky enough to be doing what I always dreamed of. What takes you to Cloud 9? An episode of Mad Men and a good night's sleep.
Greta Villager, designer
What do you do, and why do you do it? I'm a designer. I love it. Describe your art... patchworked. What is the last dream you had? I dreamt I was wearing a cardigan with no pants, it made me feel good! Haha! What takes you to cloud 9? Spending the night awake with my boyfriend. In a dream world, where do you see yourself in the future? Italy!
Photography Paul Wetherell
Styling Richard Nicoll and Siobhan Lyons
Hair Syd Hayes at Premier
Make-up Hiromi Ueda at Julian Watson Agency
Nail technician Chisato
Photography assistance Chris Miller, James Anastasi Hair assistance Ben Talbott
Make-up assistance Kaori Mitsuyasu
Digital technician Pippa Drummond
Production Lucie Newbegin at MAP LTD