New York (AP) – Longtime devotees of Oscar de la Renta were in for a little surprise at the label's runway show Tuesday evening: a leather dress, in a cool shade of raspberry.
What? Leather dresses at de la Renta? Peter Copping, only about a year into his job as the late fashion icon's hand-picked successor, was trying something different.
"It was something new to put into an Oscar de la Renta show," Copping said in a backstage interview. "I think the silhouettes felt very Oscar in some ways, fitted through the waist and then going into a bell skirt. But the material took it somewhere else."
Change is important — but in small steps, the designer said.
"I'm very respectful of the legacy of the house but you have to challenge it as well, it can't just stand still," Copping said. "You need to move forward. But it's very important to do it gradually, step by step."
Copping was also going for a juxtaposition of old and new. And when we say old, we mean 18th-century old. He went searching through a historical archive of fabrics in upstate New York.
"I was really looking at old 18th-century fabrics like tapestries," he said. "Then we brought them back and scanned them into the computer, played with the scale, changed the colors ... and then found some interesting fabric bases, to add some modern touches."
Speaking of modern, Copping said he was also influenced by the contemporary artist Jeff Koons, who displayed his famous balloon animals at the Chateau de Versailles in 2008. That's the sort of contrast Copping was looking for with a shiny silver sequined bodice paired with a traditional timeless skirt, for example.
And that leather dress? It was paired with a brocade "Antoinette" pump. How's that for mixing old and new?