Kenneth Nicholson Fall 2020

One thing that emerging designers need to understand and acknowledge when presenting collection on a big international fashion stage: nothing should distract from your collection. Whether any theatrics, voiceovers, even over exuberant models. The most important element of any fashion show are the garments. Without the garments or garments as the focus of the fashion show or presentation, a fashion show is just another theatrical presentation/art installation or Instagram moment.

Unfortunately, Kenneth Nicholson constructed his fall 2020 show with the focus on the theatrics of his presentation which was far removed from his actual collection. Themed around his grandmother’s couch—referencing special moments shared with his grandmother—Nicholson’s fall 2020 show opened with two pugilists’ bodies painted in gold and sparkly black, simulating boxing moves in the middle of the runway. That is where the pugilists began and that is also where they stayed throughout the run of the show with models walking around them.

Nicholson also employed liturgical voiceovers of Reverend Barber of the Poor People’s Campaign mixed in with music from “The Wiz,” and a collage of iconic R&B and church music. Perhaps, all these influences gave voice to Nicholson’s homage to his grandmother, but for the audience it was a huge distraction.

The collection, though incohesive and disjointed, did have some eye-catching elements; particularly, Nicholson’s kelly green trench and some of the men’s wide-legged trousers. Nicholson is talented and his approach could be funneled into an interesting perspective on gender fluidity. However, he has yet to learn how to put a show together for a sophisticated New York audience. (And better models would’ve have been an additional plus.)

Images courtesy of The Hinton Group

Nicholson should let his design aesthetic and point of view speak for itself minus the over-the-top Instagram moments. The potential is clear, and that inchoate talent should be his focus, not fleeting social media moments.

—William S. Gooch

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