FACT: a front row bursting with Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and North West may get the flashbulbs going but if you really want to know what sets fashion editors’ hearts racing, look no further than the old guard at Oscar de la Renta. Nancy Kissinger, the second wife of Henry Kissinger the former US Secretary of State, Barbara Walters and of course, Annette de la Renta.
On the surface of it, not much seemed all that different: it was the same showroom space that the late Mr de la Renta has always presented in, the same coiffured women on the front row, the same intimate audience, except, everything had changed. This was Peter Copping’s first outing for the house. There can be no doubt that the former Nina Ricci designer would have been quaking in his boots backstage, such is the enormity of taking over from one of America’s greatest ever designers, right here and now under the watchful eye of the late designer’s wife, friends, and the small matter of the rest of the world.
“I am immensely proud to have been chosen as the creative director of Oscar de la Renta,” he wrote in a letter left on guests’ seats. “Unfortunately things did not go according to our plans and I never had the chance to work with Oscar, which is something I deeply regret. He continued, “In this, my first collection, I hope to honour Oscar’s legacy and also to start a new chapter for the house.”
There wasn’t a single person in the room who wasn’t gunning for Copping, he is probably the most universally liked designer working today; suffice to say he passed with flying colours. It was a sensitive debut filled with the sort of hits that de la Renta’s clients expect to find: cashmere skirts with fox fur trims, cross mink coats, full-skirted day suits – one in cherry fuchsia. A killer cocktail dress arrived in the shape of a black stretch wool shift, with crystal tasselled cap sleeves.
But it was the gowns that stole the show – as they usually do – from an ivory strapless number decorated in ribbon appliqué roses to another streaming in black velvet ribbons. The smile on Mrs de la Renta’s face said it all.
Job well done.