NEW YORK, United States — Peter Copping had hoped to work alongside Oscar de la Renta, but it was not to be: Just days after Copping was hired last October as artistic director of the luxury label, the legendary de la Renta passed away from cancer.
In February, Copping presented his debut collection at New York Fashion Week, and on Saturday — barely two months later — he showed his first bridal line, a big occasion for a label known for dressing high-profile brides like Amal Clooney.
Luckily for Copping, who is British, the New York weather on Saturday was decidedly summery — perfect for brides. His collection retained much of the classic de la Renta glamour — lots of tulle and organza — but added a few more modern-looking silhouettes, some new takes on fabric work, and some silvery sequins. One of the most versatile looks came last, a white tiered ballgown in tulle with two bottom layers that were removable, to form a stylish minidress for dancing into the night.
Backstage after the show, Copping reflected on the collection. (The interview has been edited for length.)
AP: You showed your first collection in February, and now this. Has it been a whirlwind?
Copping: Yes, it's tough to get it done in the time you have. But I did take some of the elements from the fall collection and brought them through into this one. Some of the ways we were working with fabrics for fall seemed really appropriate for bridal, so I thought it would be nice to use that as a stepping stone. For example, one dress was formed from lots of strips of organza; there was something very similar in a bordeaux (color) in the last show. So we did it in a lighter fabric here and we added lace as well.
AP: You've spoken of the need to both preserve tradition in your new post, but also add in your own new touches. Did you do that here?
Copping: Yes, I think the way we treated some of the embroidery, and some of the silhouettes; you know it's just small touches, but small things can go a long way.
AP: Anything absolutely new for you here?
Copping: I haven't done a lot of tulle like this, so that's quite new for me. I do think there a lot of women that do want that sort of princess gown. So that's really important, to cater to that clientele. And this (last gown) — we also made it very versatile, the two layers underneath can be removed and you end up with a very ballerina, swanlike dress. So that can be perfect for later in the evening when she wants to let loose and party. Also new is a lot of the ways lace is used — sometimes using strips of it. We were playing around with it a bit.
AP: Do you feel there's less freedom in a bridal collection?
Copping: There are certain restrictions, but that's not a bad thing. I like to work within parameters sometimes. For example, not having to really worry about color! It was white or ivory, with little touches of silver. That's why we played around with the shoes, putting color there, and on some of the ribbons on the clothes.
AP: It's still your first year at the label. Are you getting more comfortable?
Copping: Well, coming up is resort and then after that is the spring-summer collection. I think it's only going to be once I've done an entire year of collections that I'll really get a good handle on things.
AP: Are you enjoying the move to New York?
Copping: I am. After 20 years in Paris, I quite surprised myself with how much I've settled in and am enjoying the city.