‘Nacré’, meaning ‘Mother of Pearl’ explores principles of fashion design and philosophies of biomimicry using unique inspirations and conceptual developments. For the SS2021 collection, the designer focuses on experimentation with imagery of New Zealand Paua Abalone shells which reflect patterns found in deep sea radiolarian species - which have inspired the distinct circular silhouette used throughout the collection.

‘Art forms in nature’ by German biologist Ernst Haeckel, incorporates art and nature in Haeckel’s detailed lithographic halftone prints produced between 1899 and 1904. These prints feature numerous radiolarians and deep sea anemones which have influenced the designer to focus on unique silhouette concepts and development.

Deep sea, microscopic radiolarian species commonly display unique biological structures, such as the circular silhouette. Exploration of uncommon garment structure allows the designer to uniquely transform the natural human body shape. The feature garment of the collection ‘The Opal Dress’, displays an exaggerated circular sleeve design which combined with the fabrication creates an optical illusion, altering the perception of the models body.

Sustainable and ethically conscious considerations are taken throughout the development of the collection, only using high quality, natural fabrications such as the 100% silk charmeuse Paua Abalone print and 100% Italian wool suiting. As well as the custom fabric print, Nichols wanted to include 100% natural Paua Abalone shells in the collection, so the tiles have been imported from New Zealand and carefully hand-sewn to create the detailed ‘Pearl’ bag. Exploration with fabrications such as wire structures and frames, buckram and shape-well allow the development of distinctive design formation throughout the collection.