It’s not often that you meet a young man like Timothy Nicol. A recent honours graduate of art history and theory and archeology, Mr Nicol is a budding fashion historian, working as both a retailer of vintage wares – under the guise of The Gold Hatted Lovers, with his partner Katie – and a researcher for the widely respected Darnell Collection, the largest and most significant collection of historic fashion and textiles in Australia.
But beyond his business nous, Mr Nicol has a particularly unique dress sense, which is what led him to the attention of Manuscript. Scouring estate sales in the United States and online, Mr Nicol then sets to work on restoring, say, a 1930s hand-painted silk robe, or a pair of 1920s wool breeches, just two garments pictured in this portrait. “For me, period clothing has many benefits,” he explains of his attraction. “The rarity is something which keeps me hunting, as I love collecting weird and wonderful things which I will never see duplicated.”
Of his personal style, he says that while he was in the past interested in particular decades of clothing, today he enjoys finding ways of mixing them together in unique and personal ways, an approach evident in the evolution of The Gold Hatted Lovers, which now also produces clothing in addition to sourcing it. “It proves that clothing from any era can be reworked and reinvented time and again,” says Mr Nicol.
Does he have a single favourite piece in his growing personal collection? “It’s a very hard question,” he admits, nominating a knee-length, double-breasted overcoat crafted from a single pelt of sheared sheep hide found at an estate sale of women’s furs. “This gem, which I believe to be from the 1910s, was hiding at the back, and I’ve not seen another like it since,” he says. “It’s completely impractical in the Sydney climate but it was too dramatic and decadent to pas up, so it comes out for about a month of each year when I can justify taking up an extra half a seat on public transport.” Look out for him on your next bus ride.
Photography Liz Ham | Styling Jolyon Mason
Grooming Linda Jefferyes | Hair Sophie Roberts