Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh, the design duo behind buzzy Dutch menswear label Botter, have been named the new artistic directors of Nina Ricci, WWD reports. The two will replace Guillaume Henry, who left the company in March after three years (yes, the three-year curse is alive and well). Botter and Herrebrugh will be relocating from Antwerp to Paris and will present their first collection (pre-fall 2019) for the French fashion house later this year. Their first runway show will be fall 2019, shown during Paris Fashion Week in March.
“We are very honored to be a part of this fantastic project,” Botter and Herrebrugh said in a press release. “We feel very inspired by the fresh and subtle codes that make Nina Ricci such a beautiful ode to femininity. We aim to create a new spirit, a spirit of our times: effortless, sophisticated and strong.”
In an interview with WWD, José Manuel Albesa, president of brands, markets and operations at Puig, the Spanish conglomerate that owns Nina Ricci (as well as Carolina Herrera, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Paco Rabanne), noted that Botter and Herrebrugh will bring "a big dose of coolness” to the 86-year-old label.
“We were looking for someone unique," he said. "They did some sketches to show their vision for the brand, and I was really amazed because it was not an evolution, it was a revolution... They have this kind of Caribbean joie de vivre. It’s very appropriate for the brand, and it’s extremely appropriate for the times."
Botter, who was born in Curaçao, and Herrebrugh, who has lived between Amsterdam and the Dominican Republic, founded their label, which is heavily inspired by their Caribbean heritage, after graduating from Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 2017. This past year, Botter earned the Grand Prize at the prestigious Festival d’Hyères in France and was named a finalist in the 2018 LVMH Prize for Young Designers. Their hiring may be unexpected given the fact that 1) they design menswear, and 2) they are relatively unknown (at least, in comparison to labels like Céline and Burberry, who chose to hire big-names creative directors like Hedi Slimane and Riccardo Tisci, respectively), but it seems like that's exactly the point. As Albesa told WWD, “We have been perhaps too shy with Nina Ricci.” And Botter and Herrebrugh are designers who definitely won't play it safe.