“Nostalgia for the present” was how Peter Copping summed up hiscollection, both during a preview and at the top of his show notes. Itmade for a great sound bite that rolled right off the tongue — romantic,cute, kinda clever, if a bit of a head-scratcher. The backstory, asCopping explained, was a little girl playing dress up, or “a wardrobefor the present, seen through the eyes of the young, experimenting withtheir mother’s and grandmother’s wardrobe.”

It gave Copping acharming new angle through which to linger on his beloved lingerie andliving-doll look, built on pinks and purples, embroideries, lace, tweedsand tailoring. There were proper lady moments, like a black cashmerecoat darted at the small of the back and with a blush fox collar, andplayful deconstruction, like a slipdress that looked like a classicnegligee at the top with a nubby ivory tweed skirt, and an exceptionalwebby, patchwork knit sweater worn with a pencil skirt.

That theclothes were exquisite in their naïve femininity was almost a given, butthe seductive edge that coursed throughout came as an enticingsurprise. Copping devoted a lot of yardage to black — sheer tulle, laceand see-through cutouts — for one thing. And since grown-up clothesdon’t usually fit little kids, the proportions were artfully sized up,so loose tops grazed the body, fur stoles fell off the shoulders andsleeves dangled below the hands. It was an adult look that little girlswill love to grow into.

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