If you like your fashion with a soupçon of high culture, Peter Copping is your man. Past collections during his creative directorship at Nina Ricci have been inspired by impressionist classics and timeless stanzas, so this season's exploration of balletic elegance well matched expectations.
Sitting bang in the middle of the Nina Ricci catwalk, a double grand piano provided the dramatic soundtrack for the show courtesy of Katia and Marielle Labèque, playing emotive music by Philip Glass.
First out was a selection of knitted ensembles combining stretch wool skirts, ruched across the thighs and cashmere blended sweaters in monochromatic pairings. Cutting through the b&w theme were head-to-toe cardinal red looks including a skirt suit with a sweater-style knot at the décolletage and a soupy silk dress with a cowl neck and deep draped backline. Most notable were the off-the shoulder, undone knits layered with fine gauge cashmere vests, ballet leotards, concertina pleated tutus and hook and eye fastened corsets - all speaking to the en pointe world.
Equally there were several looks that channelled the dance studio without requiring a perfectly turned out plié. Take the tartan mohair skirt and top two-piece, or the radzimir cropped corsets and ankle length hobble skirts – neither the most practical a barre choices, but romantic to a fault. Or the flocked silk dresses with cascading folds and charming frocks with broderie inserts – enchantingly pretty but decidedly un-costumey.
Top of the editor’s must-have list for A/W 2013 were quilted silk and faux fur parkas and lingerie inspired dresses complete with see-thru bra straps and handcrafted lace. Drama, wearable clothes and a bucket-load of cerebral magic- Copping’s genius lies in that ability to cherry-pick highfalutin references and translate them into bona fide wardrobes.