Morrissey called them “sweet and tender hooligans,” those denim-and-cargo-pant-clad lads who inspired Richard Nicoll’s spring 15 collection. They’d never attend a fashion show and would break the nose of anyone who suggested it. Nevertheless they’re the key muse among London’s edgiest menswear designers this season — just don’t tell them.
It’s tempting to read autobiography into this fascination, although Nicoll is an Aussie rather than a Northern Englander. This is unmistakably the collection of someone who came of age in the late nineties (you could say the exact same thing of Christopher Shannon, who showed earlier in the day). It seemed to come straight from the football terraces — apparently England lost some kind of soccer match yesterday —and that adds a certain poignancy.
Alternately, these pieces could have been seen at an Oasis gig circa ’96 — in cheaper, synthetic iterations, of course. This was stonewashed jeans, citrus-bright shirts, and baseball caps galore. There was also, in the button denim and gingham shirts, an evocation of fin-de-siècle lad culture — a Proustian rush for the many twenty-somethings populating the benches. Here was a collection that would please a youthful Liam Gallagher and all those who wish to emulate him.