In the latest round of Parisian-designer musical chairs, Peter Copping—formerly chief assistant to Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton —has arrived at Nina Ricci, which was recently vacated by Olivier Theyskens, who in turn, not so long ago, replaced Lars Nilsson. Hard to keep up, let alone get a grip on what this house is supposed to be about? Absolutely. There's a danger, with so much change, that professional audiences, let alone customers, can lose the will to care about a brand. That, presumably, is why the decision was made to debut Copping's collection in the salon above the store, bringing the whole thing in-house and making a concerted effort to refocus the brand on the frilly femininity Nina Ricci once stood for.
Copping, who is British (he joined LV with Jacobs), has luckily arrived at a time when soft and girly things in face-powder pink are part of the season's trendscape. He opened the show with a dotted tulle cardigan (bra on show) and a tiered perforated skirt, moving through cute layerings of tiny lace knits, silk dresses, and leggings, all in delicate pinks. It quickly became apparent that his 12 years designing selling pieces for Vuitton haven't gone to waste. Copping isn't a bull in a froufrou china shop. He knows how to put together a look that can break down into real, mouthwatering pieces for retail. He also proved he could lightly render the epitome of Nina Ricci-ness—tiered ruffles—in a pretty strapless dress that looked genuinely young.
After that, though, when the show turned to black and lace and one floor-sweeping navy and black Edwardiana dress that looked like the sad shadow of Theyskens' tenure trailing through the room, Copping seemed on less certain ground. Understandably, he hasn't had enough time to fully articulate what he's capable of, or to work the Louis Vuitton-isms fully out of his system. At first sight, though, Ricci is now in a safe pair of hands—but the jury's still out till next season.