There was a sense of relief amid all the applause at the end of Oscar de la Renta's fall 2015 collection showing on Tuesday evening — the first Peter Copping, who started his job just days before de la Renta's passing, has created for the house. Some things are going to be different during Copping's tenure at the storied American fashion brand. Many more will stay the same.
Take the setting. The runway layout and the venue — Oscar de la Renta's showroom across from the New York Public Library — remain unchanged; but the typical live floral backdrop had been replaced by mirrors, the white fold-up chairs swapped out for elegant upholstered benches. De la Renta's design team, too, has remained the same; only a knitwear designer from Copping's previous employer, Nina Ricci, has been brought in — to fill an existing vacancy, Copping explained afterward.
The show opened with a series of garments in de la Renta's favorite shapes and materials: A collarless black cashgora coat with jet embroidery on the pockets and sleeves, a striped tweed jacket and skirt that flared at the hips, a crepe de chine dress in a black and white grid print. Later, a navy, white and black striped tweed coat with black mink and fox trim seemed "very Oscar." The same goes for a cashmere navy coat faced with black, and a lovely strapless azure silk faille gown embroidered with black flowers.
Other elements were different. Fur has always been a mainstay of the Oscar de la Renta label, but Copping introduced a new style — a black and white "jaguar mink," left undyed and patchworked in black, silver and white, that was striking on a knee-length coat and pencil skirt. A geometric print on a coat and pencil skirt looked new, as did a handful of dresses with sexy, semi-sheer lace cut-outs on the bodices. Copping said one of the changes he wanted to introduce to the collection was shorter lengths, and it was telling he ended the show not with a sweeping gown, but with a pouf-skirted cocktail dress hemmed several inches above the knee.
Not every look was a success. A bordeaux gown in organza and silk taffeta and an ultraviolet gown layered with navy tulle and floral embroidery looked rich and beautiful; but the last three looks — two strapless princess gowns and the aforementioned pouf skirt dress, all three brightly color-blocked — seem underdeveloped, their cuts and colors outdated.
In his first collection, Copping has shown his deep respect for Oscar de la Renta's work and his desire to carry on his legacy. Soon, we hope, we'll get to see how he plans to take it forward.