From the ceiling of the big tent in the Tuileries came a tender squall of white confetti that covered the Nina Ricci runway in a blanket of petals. With the audience tranquilized and set for another chapter in Peter Copping’s precious storybook romance, the designer had them hoodwinked. The show opener — a black jacket and skirt with a fishnet top accessorized with a harness — was a shock to the system.
Lest anyone forget, Copping knows the other side. Now an 18-year, full-time Parisian, he grew up in England, land of the sartorially rebellious, home of club kids and girls who can live with a little dirt under their fingernails. During a preview, Copping said he wanted to put an English slant on the French house.
“Paris fashion has many things,” he said. “It’s elegant, chic, but it doesn’t have an element of street culture.”
The bones of Copping’s living doll aesthetic stayed with bias-cut dresses, prim skirts and cardigans cut from the finest fabrics. But these fancy ladies have been to a party. Fishnet was recurring, not only on hosiery but also worked into the print of a transparent trench, the open weave of a fitted sweater and up the back of skinny pants. Traditional French tropes, such as polka dots, point d’esprit and tweed suits, were given the loud, London spirit, the latter shown in glowing iridescents.
Spunky and unexpected though it was, there was a lingering feeling that Copping was under pressure to get in on the sexy grit that seems to sell. If that was the case, he has to be careful not to go too far. Still, he rose to the challenge, framing the subversive swinging elements in femininity and glamour.