This time last year, Peter Copping was struggling to get his feet under him and it showed. He had the reigns of one of America’s greatest fashion brands forcibly shoved into his hands when Oscar de la Renta died just days after tapping Copping as his successor. There wasn’t time for a smooth transition, which is what both had wanted. Copping presented a collection in February that was admirable, but hurried. The spring/summer collection shown last September was a little more stable, but one could see where Copping was experimenting with the house aesthetic, trying a few new things of his own to see how they might blend in.
Tonight, Copping and de la Renta seem more relaxed and totally at ease with each other. More than once we heard/read the comment that this collection felt very much like something de la Renta himself would have presented. The silhouettes were mostly house standards, especially the bubble skirts, tailored suits, and beautifully full evening gowns. Copping also stays true to the house theme with plenty of floral prints that I’m quite sure Oscar would love. There were opera gloves and plenty of sequins, and the inherent feeling of old-world glamour that came with every collection the old man ever designed. Copping did the house, and his predecessor, well.
At the same time, Copping is still looking for ways to insert his own aesthetic on the brand. This season, he played more with faux fur, leather dresses forcibly stitched into traditional de la Renta shapes, and extremely large bows on the back of several dresses. Of those three choices, it is the bows that are the most questionable. Granted, de la Renta used some rather sizeable bows himself on occasion, but the placement of these bows, with their enormous size, only worked with some of the dresses on which they were placed. At times, they seemed more a messy distraction than a pleasant accessory. A couple of times it even looked like wings growing from the model’s back.
Still, this is a stunning collection with hues of rose and baby blue contrasted to gold leaf on black taffeta, Nothing too over-stated or flashy, but an eternal commitment to glamour and refinement.
Copping even looked more relaxed this season, having shed the uncomfortable looking sport coat of last February, and a more comfortable smile on his face. Peter Copping and Oscar de la Renta seem well at home with each other and that says good things for the future of this uniquely American brand.