The Relics of Nicholas Nybro

Fashion is futile. That’s precisely why we do it. This exercise of will against the inevitable – heartbreak, physical decline, death – is the stuff of life. Go put on a taffeta dress in public and feel your pulse amp up! You wouldn’t be caught dead in pink, denim, suit ‘n tie, etc.? Well, then… what would you be caught dead in? Nicholas Nybro treats clothes like myths in oral tradition: you make it yours and make sure to pass it on. The spring-summer 2018 collection presented at Copenhagen Fashion Week was officially his last until further notice. And notice was taken. It was a poignantly subversive ode to a human body. Not the ideal of it, but the defiant this-is-it of it. From the edifying location to the nude look book: Nybro has brilliantly orchestrated the quietest “mic drop” in contemporary fashion history. [Read more after the images]


To date, Nybro’s collections have fared 50-50 as wearable art vs. just wearable. Averse to pleats, he hasn’t met a drape he didn’t like. He favors the volume, the layers, a look like a run-on sentence. Yet his statements are always clear. In 2015, it was “a girl finds her late grandmother’s trunk… turns out this girl’s grandmother is Boy George.” Last year, “he brought the full brunt of his toy chest aesthetics and progressive social sensibility to score another meta-win.” This time around, the gowns were ever more articulated, menswear entrenched in pink, a vision of couture increasingly inquisitive. “It’s tiresome to say that fashion only presents itself nicely on tall, skinny models – if that’s the case then isn’t something very wrong with the clothes?”. [More after the images]


Nybro showed at the Royal Danish Lapidarium. The space is famous for its late 18th century statues of common people like farmers, fishermen and street vendors: a stark break with arts patronage tradition that dictated commissioning sculptures of mythological or religious figures. What’s wrong with our statues, asked King Frederick V in 1764. A question still of utmost relevance in 2017, as Americans grapple with their Confederate heritage. How is that for a body of work?

I’m a believer in Nicholas Nybro. He is hardwired into the zeitgeist. I wish more designers asked themselves existential questions. Wherever his hiatus leads him, I’ll be ready-willing-able to follow. In the meantime, I rushed to his online shop to scoop up the last of the Nybro relics. For my body, as is, adored.


P.S. For another seminal Nicholas Nybro collection review (SS’17) and a directly-related story of my breakdown/rebirth, check out “What happened in Copenhagen?” on my personal blog.



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