It’s been a rough six months for Peter Copping as the creative director of Oscar de la Renta. Still wheeling from the sudden passing of his mentor, the legendary Señor de la Renta, Mr. Copping has had to assimilate and interpret the original designer’s aesthetic while adding his ideas into new designs. He’s done this by mostly by talking to Señor de la Renta’s close associates, closely studying archived designs and by exploring the many facets of Señor de la Renta’s inspiration- a monumental task for anyone. Yet, so far, Mr. Copping’s studies have been suitably paying off.
Resort 2016 marks Mr. Copping’s second full collection- third if you count bridal – as the head of the venerable House. It’s clear that he wanted to focus this season’s offering on joy and brightness. “I really wanted to marry two of Oscar’s worlds,” Mr. Copping explained “…I wanted to embrace color, pattern, and the house’s general joie de vivre… even more the atmosphere of what I felt the house to be— that very ‘feel good’ spirit that was always associated with the house and with Oscar himself.” This meant combining locations as far apart as New York City and Punta Cana, two worlds that Señor de la Renta straddled with easy grace.
As promised, the clothes were bright and perfectly toed the line between restraint and exuberance. Mr. Copping shares Señor de la Renta’s unapologetic love of outspoken femininity, so it goes without saying that this was also a major feature of the collection.
The show opened in signature Oscar de la Renta style with a selection of smart, lushly coloured blouse and skirt sets, skirtsuits and coatdresses. Called “broken suits” by Mr. Copping, these polished looks are more appropriate for lunching than board meetings: swinging jackets, scuba knit sweaters or ruffled blouses worn over trim A-line or pencil skirts and sleek coatdresses are sure to be favourites among the crowd of cultured ladies who frequently line the catwalk at Oscar shows.
Given a modern twist with contrasting prints, weaves and vibrant overlays, the show’s daywear segment was remarkably refreshing. Trim swimwear-inspired bodices, ruffled tunics and a filmy patterned caftan- the first ever seen on an Oscar catwalk- fabulously enhanced the easy spirit that Mr. Copping aimed for.
Even more engaging looks were a geometric patterned coat and skirt constructed from narrow bands of suede and leather- both inspired by books in Señor de la Renta’s office. Mr. Copping referenced textile designs by David Hicks and classic American quilt motifs to create their strong, vibrant patterns and graphic appeal… something that felt entirely new for both the label and Mr. Copping.
But as was often the case with Oscar de la Renta’s shows, the collection really came alive at evening. Voluminous silhouettes, lush colours and ornate ornamentation were all on display in the array of gorgeous gowns and cocktail dresses. This season’s Latin influence was strongly seen in the excess of cascading flamenco ruffles and vibrant shimmering appliqués that appeared all over the evening looks.
Amongst the lush display, particularly show stopping pieces included a columnar white gown with a brightly embroidered neckline, a magenta and white off the shoulder gown covered in sequins and 3-D flowers, a teal mink car coat inset with black python, a carmine silk faille gown with a sequinned décolletage and cutout skirt, a sheer black cocktail dress covered in shimmering beads and an aqua blue faille dress decorated with graphic bands of black lace and jet beads.
Altogether, it was a great show. It delivered everything that you’d expect from a house that epitomizes elegant, classically refined clothing. Although dressier than usual resort fare as these garments are suited for vacations in the Hamptons or in Nice rather than St. Barths, this is a collection with strong, across the board appeal. From East to West, I’m certain there are women swooning over the Oscar de la Renta Resort 2016 show!
Why? Its pretty simple. This season’s vivid colour palette, fun, flirty silhouettes and lush floral ornamentation imbue the collection with a sprightly, youthful sense that’s entirely refreshing. Add to that the graphic note of contrasting colours and fabrics, whimsical abstract patterns and fussy cascading flounces, and you get a collection that appeals to the romantic, divinely feminine nature that exists within each and every woman.
Simply put, it was pure Oscar de la Renta magic.
Oscar de la Renta’s 2016 Resort collection proves that the label’s signature sophistication and joie de vivre is being embraced, celebrated and enhanced by Mr. Copping. Brand lovers can rest assured that the house is in very good hands.
xx – Ana