In the three years since Peter Copping was appointed creative director of Nina Ricci, his ultra-feminine collections have restored some of the house's former glory. In a recent interview, Copping discusses the women he designs for — and how his clothing works for them.
On his customers: "I like that women of all ages can take my clothes and project their own personality onto them. I like a total look on some women, but mostly I like it when the clothes are broken down and different pieces are added to the overall effect."
On keeping things light: "There's a lightness to all of my clothes because I believe that women don't want to be burdened with heavy fabrics. Quite often I will even leave my coats unlined and if a woman is chilly, then she will layer her clothing. I will admit that much of my clientele has the sort of jet-set lifestyle that allows them to wear light clothes all the year round!"
On French women: "In France, women always refer to each other's weight in the first greeting. If they tell you 'Oh, you look well,' it's code for 'oh, you look fat.' By contrast, 'You've lost weight' is the highest praise."
On the women who inspire him: "I don't have a muse. I like to stay away from the idea of creating for one specific woman or one particular sort of dressing. I love the red carpet, but I don't want just to be linked to that. Of course, I thought that Diane Kruger, who I recently dressed for Cannes, looked almost perfect in Nina Ricci!"
On working for Marc Jacobs: "I had a very good apprenticeship in my 12 years at Louis Vuitton. By the time I left, I was the design director of the studio, overseeing the womenswear team. That's how Marc Jacobs works: he trusts you and he gives people the freedom to do their job to the best of their ability."
On It bags: "I think the concept of the 'It' bag is nauseating, which is why it's taken me some time to get around to bags properly. Of course, any major fashion house should have accessories, but they need to relate to the clothing and be a progression of and extension of the clothing line. Everything must be in context. I hope that our new 'La Rue' bag exemplifies my theory."
Photo: The Nina Ricci La Rue bag, with flowers illustrated by Jo Ratcliffe.