DEBUT DAY: In the minutes before Peter Copping’s debut at Oscar de la Renta on Tuesday night, the late designer’s showroom was teetering with anticipation. Finally, the moment had arrived for him to unveil how he would carry on the legacy of one of the most revered men in American fashion, a tall order for any designer.

It was a room full of discerning heavy-hitters, longtime friends and fans of a designer who’d dressed them impeccably from generation to generation.  On one side of the aisle was Annette de la Renta, Barbara Walters, Anna Wintour, Mercedes Bass and Nancy Kissinger. Opposite, sitting with Eliza Bolen, were Karlie Kloss and Taylor Swift, arguably the two most famous BFFs of the moment, just like they appear on the March cover of Wintour’s Vogue. Lauren Santo Domingo and Huma Abedin, who got to know de la Renta through her boss, the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were also in the house.

It was a fitting coming together of the guards, new and old. For Walters, one of the de la Rentas’ closest friends, the moment was pregnant with emotion. It had been less than half a year since the designer died. “I’m excited but I’m also sad because Oscar is not here,” she said. “All of us here feel that way. We’re excited for the new talent and we’re sad not to have our friend here.”

Though she had not yet met Copping, Walters was hopeful about the collection he was about to present.  “He’s been working very hard and I know the de la Rentas have a lot of faith in him,” she said.

Swift, giggly in the front row with Kloss, declined to comment on her presence at the show, though it’s hard to imagine she could have said anything remotely controversial considering the occasion. “My publicist would get mad at me,” she said.

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