If you cast your mind back over the last month and a half of awards shows, a dress that really stands out is the one Nicole Kidman wore to the Screen Actors Guild Awards, a navy number with a low-cut black lace back from Nina Ricci's Peter Copping. It captured the essence of the brand that Copping has called his own for two years now: unapologetically feminine and hopelessly romantic, yet with a modern spark. For Fall he didn't verge from his established path, but the collection seemed to be rendered with a more confident hand. The red-carpet coup may have helped that, but so did what Copping called strong orders for his pre-fall collection.

As other designers have done this season, he used his pre-collection as a template for Fall. The stretchy fabric of Kidman's midnight blue gown rematerialized in the light blue of a long-sleeve day dress with a gathered neckline, and the pre-season's bouclé tweed was cut into a perfectly imperfect skirtsuit and a slightly oversize robe coat.

Oversize because Copping's point of departure this season was portraiture, and he designed that coat and others after an artist's model's studio robe. Sargent's Madame X was on his mood board and it inspired a black velvet gown in the famous painting's image; the lace insets are what made it new. Cecil Beaton's equally well known 1948 shot of Charles James' evening gowns was also pinned to the wall; its modern-day counterpart came down the runway in crinkly powder blue radzimir. This was another step in the right direction for Copping and the Ricci brand.