Oscar de la Renta lives on in designer Peter Copping's debut collection

Peter Copping carries on Oscar de la Renta's legacy

It was a tough act to follow Oscar de la Renta, who died in October at the age of 82, before he even had a chance to work with ‎his hand-picked successor and ensure a seamless transition.

But British-born designer Peter Copping had to carry on anyway. After leaving his post as creative director at Nina Ricci, with barely enough time to settle into life in New York, he was put in charge of guarding the legacy of one of American fashion's most beloved figures, who has dressed first ladies, socialites and Hollywood royalty.

On Tuesday night, Copping proved he's up to the task, striking the right balance between past and future with his first collection for the house of Oscar de la Renta. "I wanted to be respectful, but to also introduce some new elements to signal a new era," he said backstage, "including shorter lengths to daywear. And more will come over the seasons." 

The debut was Taylor Swift-approved. The pop singer, who has worn Oscar de la Renta many times, sat front row, next to model pal Karlie Kloss.

On the runway, the clothes stayed true to de la Renta's aristocratic and elegant aesthetic. Case in point, a black-and-white patchwork mink skirt that was the height of superluxe, and the kind of cream, nubby tweed skirt suit that ladies who lunch have looked to Oscar to provide for decades.

But Copping also added a French touch, carried over from his time at Nina Ricci, and articulated in a just-this-side-of-risque black velvet and lace ribbon gown slit to the thigh, and a black lace and mesh organza cocktail dress with a lingerie-like bodice.‎ 

Skirts were indeed shorter, cut above the knee and full. They conveyed a flirtatious spirit, as did the opening coat, trimmed in jet bead embroidery at the pockets and sleeves. 

Clothes for grandmother, mother and daughter. De la Renta couldn't have asked for anything more.

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