Between the esteemed walls of the British Library is where Nabil El-Nayal staged his latest presentation, a location imbued upon his Spring 2019 collection. The Syrian designer unveiled his newest line at London Fashion Week on Tuesday and, like previous collections that came before, a strong Elizabethan theme reigned supreme. El-Nayal, who has twice been nominated for a CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund Award), took inspiration from the library’s extensive archives, which hold vast treasures from his beloved historical period. The designer particularly drew upon the famous Tilbury Speech, delivered by Queen Elizabeth I ahead of the attempted invasion of England by the Spanish Armada in 1588, referencing it throughout the collection.
Excerpts from the manuscript, as well as images from the monarch’s funeral procession and hymn sheets, were cast onto ethereal ruffs, fluid tunics, and silky caped suits. In a nod to Queen Elizabeth’s reign, dubbed England’s Golden Age, hues of soft gold were scattered throughout, as well as a sepia-toned palette that lent a certain nostalgia. The monarch’s portrait was captured on a diaphanous midi, with the designer inspired by Queen Elizabeth’s “strength and power,” show notes revealed. El-Nayal’s signature deconstructed white shirts were present in Spring 2019, this season adorned with hand-cut embellishments made of bonded poplins and marcella. Monochromatic taffetas, exploding with voluminous details, also made an appearance, their restrained gothic glamour imparting an overall romance.
In staging his presentation at the British Library, where El-Nayal once spent hours laboring over his doctorate in Elizabethan dress, the designer became the first to host a show at the historic institution as part of the London Fashion Week schedule. As part of his partnership with the library, London-based El-Nayal will later host a research masterclass for fashion design students. The lucky attendees will be chosen as part of a competition organized with the British Fashion Council Colleges Council.
Earlier this year, El-Nayal, whose fans include Karl Lagerfeld and Nicolas Ghesquière, was revealed as one of eight creatives awarded this year’s BFC Fashion Trust by the British Fashion Council. The charitable initiative dished out grants totaling £380,000 (SAR/AED 1.8 million) between the recipients, who were chosen for their exceptional efforts.
Scroll through the gallery above to discover more from Nabil Nayal’s Spring 2019 collection.