Richard Nicoll, AW11, London.
When a collection gets referred to as sporty it can be often be due to the fabrics, or the detailing such as the use of sporty closures, velcro, double ended zips etc. In the case of the recent Richard Nicoll collection the sporty edge was achieved without the sacrifice of elegance through the adjustment of the seams on the sleeves.
Raglan sleeves are often used in sportswear from sporty jackets through to baseball style t-shirts. They can be spotted by the seamline that runs diagonally from the bottom of the armhole up towards the centre of the neckline. In contrast, a standard set in sleeve is generally a squarer look where the seamline runs up around the shoulder and back down into the armhole on the other side.
By using raglan sleeves instead of standard set in sleeves Nicoll managed to subconsciously remind us of sporty bomber jackets while also enjoying the benefits of a streamlined, curved shoulder since the shape of the raglan sleeves allows the fabric to fall closer to the natural shape of the shoulder curve.
The raglan shape is often teamed with a dropped under arm shape such as a batwing silhouette to allow for movement, especially in fabrics without stretch.
In the pictures below it has been highlighted where there has been an additional seam added along the outside edge of the arm, or where the same shape has been achieved by using a dart. Because sheer fabrics have been used in this collections both the seams and the darts would have been french seamed to ensure they look neat from the outside.
When you look through the full collection you will also see that Nicoll has echoed the shape of the raglan by using halter neck styles and other diagonal front seam lines to continue the sportswear theme into all the pieces. This is also the reason why the few standard set in sleeves in the collection seem to jump out due to their squarer shape.
Images from Vogue.co.uk»