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In the (almost) one year since taking the helm at the House of Oscar de la Renta, and proving he can fill the big shoes left by his beloved late predecessor, Creative Director Peter Copping has given fans everything they expect from the brand. And then some. Feminine, ladies-who-lunch separates? Check. Floral-print cha-cha frocks? Check. Sophisticated gowns and embroidered cocktail dresses? Check and check.
Photo: Sebastian Kim
Now, with three lauded collections already under his couture belt, he's about to send his first spring collection down the New York runway on September 15th. We caught up with Copping a few weeks ago at a trunk show at Saks Fifth Avenue in Union Square to ogle his gorge Resort 2016 line. (Subsequently, it was showcased in Lake Tahoe at the retailer's annual fundraiser/fashion show to raise money for the locale's preservation.) He'll be back in town for the March opening of André Leon Talley's Oscar de la Renta retrospective at the de Young (can't wait).
Photo: de Young Museum
In the meantime, here are five things you probably don't know about the affable, Oxford-born designer...
1. His first gig was making clothes for plastic people
No, he wasn't working in Hollywood. Copping, who served as artistic director for Nina Ricci in Paris after designing for the likes of Sonia Rykiel and Louis Vuitton, created his very first frocks for dolls (of the non-human variety). A few years ago, he told the press that as a child, he stitched tiny lamé ensembles for his sister's playthings. But now he's setting the record straight. "After this article came out, my sister told me they were actually my dolls I was making dresses for—not hers," Copping says. "I had no idea."
2. He doesn't limit himself to fashion design
Copping and his husband, floral designer Rambert Rigaud, are also big-time interior designers. They selected every piece of furniture and styled every detail of their stunning château in Normandy, from the decadent four-poster bed down to the silk ikat lampshades, prompting both Vogue and Architectural Digest to raid the place with photographers. "Rambert and I are really passionate about home interiors," says Copping. "We've been together for nine years, and it's always nice to do a project together." But isn't he too busy? "You can't believe how I manage to find the time to find that perfect chair. When we're doing fittings for the fashion shows, I'd just pop out for five minutes to scour a catalog. When you're passionate about something, you make it happen."
3. He appreciates San Francisco's artisanal sensibility
Copping lived in Paris for 20 years, currently works in a chic office overlooking Manhattan's Bryant Park (the very same office where de la Renta himself sharpened his sketch pencils), and resides in the perpetually hip West Village. But we believe him when he says he really digs our little City by the Bay. "You have a good way of life going here," he says. "The produce is great, and so many local people are producing interesting things." Copping recently hung out in the Tenderloin, where he purchased chai from a woman who'd started a tea business in her kitchen. He was also impressed by an artisanal coffee bar during an excursion to Mill Valley. (So, basically, if you wanna get in with Copping, send him a pound of roasted-in-Oaktown coffee beans.)
4. He's not above using denim in a 50-year-old fashion house
Since landing at Oscar de la Renta, Copping has remained respectful to the legacy he inherited. But that hasn't stopped him from shortening hemlines and adding edgier details (like lingerie-inspired backs) to give the line a fresh appeal. Copping recently spent time in Italy checking out fun prints, and he's even considering denim as a new material: "We don't know exactly where it will take us—maybe it will end up in the dustbin—but it's such an American fabric, and I wanted to see how it could be interpreted into an Oscar de la Renta look." Our thinking? Bring it.
5. He thinks San Franciscans have style
A romance novelist who has lived here for many years once said that our city lacks style. When asked his opinion about this, Copping vehemently disagreed. "There are some very chic, stylish women here," says the man who recently dressed Silicon Valley babe Marissa Mayer for the Met Gala in New York. "Whenever I do a trip to San Francisco, I leave feeling energized. It's an exciting place. All the boutiques, like Valentino, Bottega Veneta...that means something." Yeah, it means take that, Danielle Steel.