Peter Copping made his first trip to Los Angeles with the Oscar de la Renta crew on Tuesday for the Colleagues Annual Spring Luncheon, where the house’s fall collection is traditionally presented ahead of trunk shows at its Melrose Place boutique and Saks Fifth Avenue. The nonprofit organization supports Children’s Institute Inc. through its fashion auction and resale shop.
Said Copping, “In fashion, we sometimes live in a bubble. It’s an insular world where you can forget that a lot of people need things, especially children. If this event can help raise money for a good cause, that’s all I can ask for.”
There was extra security present at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel because this year’s Champion of Children honorees were former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughters Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager.
“Wow, this feels like a wedding,” Bush Hager said after an introduction by Patricia Heaton and a standing ovation from 800 women. “I’m thrilled to be here because we all loved Oscar and are proud to help carry on his legacy of philanthropy,” she said, adding “I’m six months pregnant, so I’m slightly hormonal right now.” Her mother added, “Congratulations to you, Peter; we’re so excited to see more of you. And thanks to the Colleagues for giving me an excuse to buy a new Oscar de la Renta dress.”
Afterward, Copping sat down with WWD. “I think the legacy of service is quite particular to the house,” he said. “Oscar was very much about giving, not just charity but with his time as well.”
He called the road trip “a big learning curve” in terms of interacting with customers and collecting feedback, but said his design ethos feels natural. “What I design will always be in the realm of what Oscar would have done himself, and the touches of my own just happen organically. Oscar and I shared a lot of interests in terms of antiques, art and gardens, as well as the type of woman who appeals to us.”
As for his resort collection, he said, “Coming here and seeing what women need, I think it’s really going to appeal to them in terms of the color and fabric. It’s pretty much sunny all year-round so you need clothes for that.”
When asked what has surprised him most during his five-month tenure, he joked, “I’m most surprised by how much noise 800 women in one room can make.”