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

It gave Copping a charming new angle through which to linger on his beloved lingerie and living-doll look, built on pinks and purples, embroideries, lace, tweeds and tailoring. There were proper lady moments, like a black cashmere coat darted at the small of the back and with a blush fox collar, and playful deconstruction, like a slipdress that looked like a classic negligee at the top with a nubby ivory tweed skirt, and an exceptional webby, patchwork knit sweater worn with a pencil skirt.

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

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