This story first appeared in the November 9, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Peter Copping is the fifth designer in a decade tasked with reviving Nina Ricci—and he came out of the gate like a thoroughbred. His Paris debut established romantic femininity as its new watchwords; bows, lace and lingerie details among its key ingredients, and himself as a talent to watch after one of the strongest debuts of a previously number-two designer in recent years. A dozen years as Marc Jacobs’ chief design deputy at Louis Vuitton served him well, and he delivered fashion frills with personality and finesse. “I like wearable clothes,” said Copping, who succeeded Olivier Theyskens in April. “I’m not necessarily into being too avant-garde.”
Ricci president Manuel Puig, scion of the privately held Puig Beauty and Fashion Group, noted that commercial reaction to the new design direction was strong, allowing Ricci to recuperate about 30 new and former clients worldwide, with Europe, Japan and the U.S. as standout markets. Among bestsellers were silk crepe jackets, knits, jerseys and day-to-cocktail dresses with lace and other special details. Ricci also made headway with its nascent accessories business, notably with its Ambre line of draped calfskin bags and silk jacquard pouches for evening, Puig added. For his part, Copping said he feels right at home at Ricci, given his personal penchant for unapologetically feminine designs. “I always liked bows,” he mused. “They’re just appealing things to look at.”