Nicky Zimmermann’s fall collection was inspired by a fellow Australian in Paris.

The designer has shown her Zimmermann line in the French capital since last season. Rupert Bunny arrived in Paris in the late 19th century, gaining success with his Impressionist-style paintings.

His gentle palette ran through the lineup unveiled in the soaring south gallery of the Petit Palais, with several paintings used as prints. It felt especially appropriate, since the building dates from the same period.

A classical landscape framed with white roses appeared on a full-skirted midi dress with fluted sleeves and an oversized flower brooch, while a painting of two women in conversation was the basis for a silky shirt dress with a cream lace back.

The project was a collaboration with the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, which provided access to paintings and drawings from its collection. “They just glow, there’s a warmth and an optimism. I love his interpretation of women and the color and the movement,” Zimmermann said backstage of Bunny’s artwork.

She balanced out the frothy dresses the brand is known for with daywear built around denim and oversized tailoring. A cream pinstriped jacket was paired with slouchy black leather pants, while black lace bodysuits underpinned a checked wool coat, as well as a triple denim look consisting of a jean jacket, blazer and pants.

Some of the best outfits were the ones that blended masculine and feminine elements: a pink lace-trimmed dress worn with a biker jacket, and a maxi skirt — printed with a painting of Bunny’s wife and muse Jeanne Heloise Morel — paired with a cream Aran sweater.

If some of the draped dresses with pouf skirts felt a little overwrought, there were beautifully simple looks too: a black velvet slipdress with a cutout velvet and tulle bodice, and a couple of belted satin boudoir jackets that could be dressed up or down.

Zimmermann is opening a secondary design office in Paris and plans to be back several times this year. Like Bunny before her, she’s expanding her horizons.

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