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June 9, 2022

Hendrick’s Gin x Nicol & Ford: Making Cucumber-Inspired Couture

Kathryn Shanks
Hendrick’s Gin x Nicol & Ford: Making Cucumber-Inspired Couture
We spoke with Sydney-based designers Nicol & Ford about their cucumber-inspired collaboration with Henrick’s Gin.

As we all know, Afterpay Australian Fashion Week was jam-packed with incredible fashion runways and events – so we can’t blame you if you didn’t quite catch Nicol & Ford’s debut show, La Pouffe. The avant-garde pair partnered with Hendrick’s Gin to craft three unique handbags inspired by the humble cucumber: the Picnic Sip Pack, the Couturier’s Cucumber Clutch, and the Titillating Tuft Tote. Each bag is an eccentric celebration of cucumbers, decadence, and spectacle – sure to turn heads no matter who carries them!

We were given the opportunity to speak with Nicol & Ford’s Katie-Louise and Timothy Nicol-Ford about their partnership with Hendrick’s Gin and their experience at Australian Fashion Week, so read on to learn more about this incredible design duo!

Q: We adore your eccentric style, which is often described as avant-garde. Is it something that has always characterised your style, or has it developed over time? 

Whilst we have always dressed in unique ways, we have certainly honed the aesthetics of our personal style – and of Nicol & Ford – over the past 4–5 years. The ability to use clothing as an opportunity for self-expression, for empowerment, and to disrupt cultural expectations around identity and gender is certainly against the grain – however, it reflects the driving force of our creative vision.

Q: How did the collaboration with Hendrick’s come about, and why cucumber? 

Having known the Hendrick's Australia team over the past 3–4 years and having attended their fabulous activations, we were delighted when they commenced a conversation with us to work together on a project for Afterpay Australian Fashion Week. In exploring Hendrick's Gin we came to understand the key symbolism of the cucumber in the perfect Hendrick's serve and wanted to draw inspiration from this motif within our aesthetic vision.

Q: How do you manage the interplay between functionality, aesthetics, and deco charm? 

We approach our design work initially with our community. First and foremost we are inspired by people. Our work recycles and re-invents numerous inspirations within a contemporary framework to celebrate these bodies and identities via conceptual design. Aesthetics and various inspiration touchstones provide the markers by which our core mission of celebrating and elevating queer bodies can take place.

Q: Can you tell us how long it took to make the diamond tote? Our founder loves it. 

The Titillating Tuft Hendrick's tote bag was a super fun collaboration between Hendrick's, Nicol & Ford, Jennifer Hesketh (artist), and James Harvey (artisan leatherworker) to create such a unique piece. Over the course of six weeks, Hendrick's trademark diamond label was reinvented as a rug to celebrate the interior design inspiration from which La Pouffe was born. 

Q: With each of your exquisite creations, you like to add a little historical flair. Who were you channelling? 

This particular collection was inspired by the life of Carlos de Beistegui, a bizarre and flamboyant figure of the tentury, who bought, patronised, and commissioned key artists and designers throughout his life. The work of these creatives – including Leonor Fini, Salvador Dali, Cecil Beaton and Pierre Cardin – are reflected in playful details across the collection.

Q: Lastly, are there any exciting collaborations on the horizon?

We are so thrilled with the response to our debut runway and look forward to future collaborations with Hendrick's Australia, exploring our shared fascination with reinvention, craftsmanship, and collaborative design to continue celebrating our community and creative inspiration.

A big thanks to Nicol & Ford for sharing their thoughts with us!

Images source Havas Group

If you liked this article, you might like our feature about JAM the Label’s AAFW runway.

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