f a s h i o n

Nicola graduated in Fashion design and Textiles from GCAD at Cheltenham in 1979 and worked in London for 4 years in Colour forecasting, knitwear and wovens, travelling to the Far East and India.

Rodolfo Contreras, a Mexican who grew up in Texas, was an artist and fashion designer (died 2000). From 1984-87 while living in New York, he collaborated with Nicola Contreras, a British fashion designer, artist and ceramicist. Together they created hand loomed knitwear, painted silks and appliqué outfits which sold to boutiques and department stores across the US and were featured in many publications inc Bazaar Magazine and New York Magazine.

In the snowy winter 1983 Nicola arrived in New York and was hired by Rodolfo, working out of his Manhattan railroad apartment on the Lower East side, to paint his wooden bracelets and earrings, ordered by Saks Fifth Avenue. They soon fell in love and married. Nicola’s painted silk wedding outfit was their first collaboration and featured in British Brides Magazine Spring 1985. The first bracelet image that Nicola designed into a jumper was featured on a full page in Bazaar magazine with Kim Alexis wearing the ‘Long Horn Bull’ jumper. Before the days of computers, Nicola devised a way to make the knitting patterns so that Rodolfo’s images were not distorted. By Spring 1985 they had created a whole collection of hand loomed intarsia knitwear and took part in The Moore Fashion Awards in New York. Then orders poured in from boutiques and stores all over the US.
6 outfits are now in the Texas Fashion Collection at University of North Texas | College of Visual Arts & Design 405 S. Welch Ste.102 | Denton, TX 76201 https://digital.library.unt.edu/ and 1 outfit has been acquired by the Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10029

Nicola Contreras’s wedding outfit July 1984, featured in Conde Nast British ‘Brides’ magazine in Summer 1985. Artwork designed by Rodolfo Contreras
Hand painted Habutai silk coat designed and sewn by Nicola Contreras, Artwork created by Rodolfo Contreras 1984
Bazaar magazine with Kim Alexis wearing the ‘Long Horn Bull’ jumper. Hand loomed intarsia knitwear designed by Nicola Contreras, artwork and painted wooden bracelet created by Rodolfo Contreras 1984.
The Moore Fashion Awards show, April 1985, Plaza Hotel New York. Hand loomed intarsia knitwear designed by Nicola Contreras, artwork created by Rodolfo Contreras 1985