Marrying two prominent styles of the East and the West, Young Designer Chris Nick transports us to the 1920s in his F/W 2020 collection.
If you’ve been following Chris Nick ever since he catapulted his career to greater heights impressively not too long ago, it’s really no surprise by now that the young designer has this deep enthusiasm in the 20th century. From channeling the golden age of Hollywood in his Fall/Winter 2019 collection to giving us a glimpse of what was a fashion evolution in the 1940s at the MEGA Fashion Week, he surely loves to give us a tinge of nostalgia. And this time, we are brought to none other than the Jazz Age.
Much has been written about the roaring 20s, an epoch of pure glitz and glam, and for good reason. From sparkling dresses, over-the-top feathered embellishments, and intricate beadwork, it’s definitely one of the most influentially enduring and distinct decades in the 20th century.
It was significant in the world of fashion because, by the end of World War 1, it allowed designers to create pieces that centered around revolutionary freedom in both fashion and morals. So, upon looking back at history, one will notice how women left behind the prim and proper mold of Victorian ideals and sought to wear more free-spirited and casually chic clothes. This decade of thinking also gave us F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, which magnificently painted for us the era’s true glory.
But it wasn’t only the West, specifically America, that catapulted its economy to greater heights. The Philippines was also living in grandeur during the 20s. If only we could colorize the old black-and-white portraits of the older generation, you’ll see that the ternos they wore would be in rich colorful hues, as well as being intricately embellished with textures and beadwork.
So, if we actually place the major fashion trends of the east and of the west in the 20s side by side, the similarities of both factions would revolve around textures and intricacy as well as their new-found liberal sense of style. In fact, just by looking at this magnificent decade, it’s really hard—especially for someone like Chris Nick—not to be enchanted by the ingenious artwork and freedom every creative individual always aspires to have.
The Dawn Of The New 20s
Chris Nick initially started conceptualizing this collection in December of 2019, wherein we were entering yet another new decade in the 21st century. “As we enter a new decade, the 20s came into mind,” he shares. “The roaring 20s saw an explosion of art, culture, and racial pride, [as well as] social change was evident.”
Although this may be, as the entire world entered into a dark phase in the first quarter this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fashion industry was profoundly affected by it. Regardless of this case, our industry remained to be hopeful and did its best in providing necessities like PPEs to our front liners.
Moreover, Chris understood that as a designer, he has this shared responsibility of even giving a temporary means of escapism for the modern Filipinas through what he does best—garbing them in pure sophistication and class. Echoing from what was said in Vogue, “after darkness, people craved light, speed, fun.” According to him, “this collection expresses that despite hard times, one must not linger. Fashion does not necessarily have to stop. We must look forward.” So, it’s pretty much like the 1920s—right after the darkness of the first world war and of the influenza pandemic, a better decade of change emerged.
Creating the Modern Flapper
And for Chris Nick, the modern Filipina is “dressed up in classics with a tailored twist, and constantly bringing the Filipiniana into the current scene. She is not afraid to express herself and individuality—with fashion being one of her outlets.” So, in pursuit of creating the modern flapper in the Philippines, the young designer opted to fuse the magnificence of the Gatsby-esque era with the Filipiniana’s prominent butterfly sleeves. “These women are leaders of change and are symbols of confidence filled with a strong personality, attitude, and a whole lot of charisma,” he explains.
His collection revolves around his ever-favorite color, black, which has always symbolized seduction, fantasy, and mystery. Hence, his pieces are made in luxurious tulle, satins, silks, and wool, all of which both conceal and reveal the female body.
In diligent comparisons to his previous collections, this is the first time that we’re seeing the young designer explore more on textures. “I’ve always rather played it safe when I started in fashion,” he explains. “This is my way of branching out and leaving my comfort zone, [proving that] texture can still be clean and chic.”
But while he has ventured into new terrain, he kept intact what he’s also known: tailored suits. He mixed tailored pieces with evening dresses that created this new kind of appeal. According to him, by borrowing masculine silhouettes and adding fringes, feathers, and sparkle but at the same time, never overdone is impeccably fitting for a woman of distinct authority.
After all, the new generation’s flapper girl is someone who epitomizes having the wit, unique sense of style, and most importantly socially aware of her own surroundings. And much like the women of the 1920s who fought so hard to emancipate themselves, the modern flapper will always be liberal letting her wear whatever she decides, having no man dictate what to wear and what not to wear.