By Kenneth Richard | The Impressionist
After weeks of speculation, today the house of Oscar de la Renta confirmed the appointment of Peter Copping as Creative Director putting to rest the rumors and laying out a clear succession plan for the house.
Copping, the 48 year old who recently resigned from Nina Ricci where he worked for five years as Creative Director, will begin at Oscar de la Renta on November 3rd with his first show to be held in February 2015. He will have creative oversight for all product categories, including ready-to-wear, accessories, fragrance and beauty, bridal and home décor and will report to Mr. de la Renta as well as Alex Bolen, CEO of the house.
Mr. de la Renta, who is 82, is one of the few designers working today who has appointed a heir while still leading his brand and the move will be watched closely by the industry that has a number of sitting creatives who have not publicly named successors from Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel (age 81) to Giorgio Armani (age 80) to Ralph Lauren (age 79).
Our industry has not always done the best job when it comes to changes in design leadership. My hope is that, in leading this selection and actively participating in the transition, I can ensure the right design future for our company and brand.
The industry has recently witnessed first hand the downside of a lack of succession in the house Bill Blass. Mr. Blass, a friend of Mr. de la Renta, sold Bill Blass Limited in 1999 without naming a design successor, subsequently the house has exchanged hands three times and has lost it’s share of both voice and market.
“We have spent a considerable time determining how best to bring a new and important creative voice into our company,” explained Mr. Bohen, “Peter will bring a fresh perspective to our brand, continuing the evolution of our business.”
That time appears well spent as Mr. Copping has numerous sensibilities aligned with the house of Oscar de la Renta from use of color, feminine sensibilities, cut, and use of decretive elements. Both trained in Europe, Mr. de la Renta under Balenciaga before founding his house in 1965 and subsequently designing both his own collection and that of Balmain for nine years. Mr. Copping spent 12 years working as Studio Director under Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton before his role at Nina Ricci.
“I’m very happy Peter has agreed to join us. He is a great talent and along with our shared design sensibilities, we both have a deep curiosity about the wider world, from music and art to architecture and gardens.” explained Mr. de la Renta.
Traditionally the direction of the transatlantic design hop has been that of American’s jumping abroad to design for European houses (Narciso Rodriquez at Cerruti, Michael Kors at Céline, Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton, and more recently Alexander Wang at Balenciaga and Jeremy Scott at Moschino). Mr. Copping follows the recent collaboration of Olivier Theyskens at Theory and perhaps signals that a change in direction is in the air.
“It is an immense pleasure for me to join Oscar de la Renta as Creative Director,” said Peter Copping. “After a career of 20 years in Paris, this is an important next step for me. Oscar de la Renta has defined American elegance for generations of women, and the opportunity to work with him and help ensure the future of the brand is very exciting.”