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For his second season at Oscar de la Renta, Peter Copping looked to Spain. There were cinched black basque corset-tops, laser-cut espadrilles, blood reds and a carnation print, which was sprayed demurely on silk crepe de chine and later abstracted as a larger print in over silk cady cocktail dresses.
Copping had been thinking about Oscar’s “passions” for his 59-piece collection. He may have been mindful of Madrid, and de la Renta’s early career with the Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga, but much of his source material came from closer to home. The little-visited Hispanic Society of Harlem, of which de la Renta was a keen supporter, had given Copping free rein to roam there, and many of the show’s themes and lushly printed textiles had been inspired by the museum’s archives and 14 paintings by Joaquín Sorolla, whose “Visions of Spain” from 1919, hang in the building’s Circle Room.
All the Spanish flavours were here but this was no theme-park. The accents were pronounced, but marvellously well-executed. Waists were whippety thin, and the daywear pencil skirts were below the knee and worn with flats that added an ease to a narrow silhouette. The colours were dramatic, the scarlets deeply seductive.
While Copping “pushed the dresses” here, he also used the collection to “expand the language of daywear” at the house. A crochet panel sweater stood out among the sweet knits and, while an extremely luxurious dahlia-embroidered mink stood out at the upper end, there were also pieces made in a humbler black denim.
Of the gowns: there were at least 20 knockouts. Full, exquisite and unexpected in colour. A giant taffeta gown with black grosgrain bows was featherlight and aqua in hue. Another taffeta was lovely in lavender. Neither are easy shades: both were beautiful.