A little girl rummaged through boxes and trunks of old clothes in Peter Copping’s imagination and emerged as a Nina Ricci woman.

Copping mined the sense of discovery waiting at the bottom of every dressing-up box for his autumn winter 2012 collection. This lucky miss had the cast-offs of generations of well-dressed women to choose from, and she set her fresh eyes to combining and repurposing pieces in modern, feminine ways.

So the designer extended camisoles into dresses, patchworked tweed and lace together into dresses and gathered handfuls of silk crepe to define a roomy blouse. Overlong jacket cuffs and heaps and gobs of crystal necklaces, brooches and buttons added to the childlike glee.

‘I was thinking about a young girl playing around and exploring her mother’s, grandmother’s and past generations’ wardrobes,’ Copping said after the show. ‘Hence the oversized pieces, the sense of disproportion, the easier, slouchier silhouette.’

There was a feeling of childish appropriation of objects to new ends as well. A strip of fur swung between long leather gloves, as if ‘a fur stole became a glove,’ Copping explained. ‘I wanted to play around with those fusions of two different items.’

While some dresses spliced together tweed, satin, chiffon, lace and dotted swiss, others stayed simpler. Sleek satin dresses with sinuous thigh slits shown under double-faced cashmere coats were more grown-up than Copping’s little-girl muse might know, at least arching an eyebrow at the boudoir if not nodding at it overtly. An oversized pink dress with a bow at the waist was utterly lovely.

And how did the models like it?

‘Usually I feel kind of girly in Nina Ricci outfits,’ Daria Strokous said, ‘but today I felt sexy.’

Copping approved. ‘It’s almost that age that’s between a girl and a woman—a girl discovering her femininity and sexuality through playing with the clothes.’

 
 
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