Nina Ricci Spring Summer 2014 (Getty)
Prima ballerinas, Madame X and artist Zina de Plagny have provided inspiration for Peter Copping over the past few seasons at Nina Ricci. All connected to the house’s archives, these women were perfect muses for Copping’s subtly powerful vision of Parisienne chic. This season however, the designers stepped outside that comfort zone and built a collection around 18th century menswear – specifically redingotes, a type of archaic fitted frock coat. However, rather than a literal assimilation of Mr Darcy’s wardrobe, Copping employed a light hand with his reference point.
Through the collection we saw men’s dress shirt detailing in cotton poplin and pique, tailored waistcoat tops and jackets complete with chiffon ruffles, creating a silhouette worthy of the landed gentry. While these details all added character, the main story was more of a continuation of what Copping is best known and adored for: ephemeral yet sophisticated pieces in lightweight crepe, lace and chiffon.
The collection opened with a procession of white looks in tonal shades ranging from alabaster to magnolia. Quoting G.K. Chesterton, Copping's show notes explained, “White…is not the mere absence of colour: It is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black.” Beautiful sheer lace dresses layered with large pants for modesty walked side by side with ensembles in cotton and tweed offering a good deal of daywear in the mix.
Pleats were explored in several fabrics, creating skirts of multiple layers and uneven hem lengths. Reflective fabrics and embellishment, already a strong theme at this edition of the Paris Collections, were also used throughout with glistening tweed jackets and gobstopper mirror pailettes embroidered on to skirts and evening camis.
Half-way though the collection the herbaceous boarder invaded the runway (much like the pair of protesting streakers who attempted to enlist the show's models to their cause mid-show) offering a selection of wait-list worthy sheer dresses and skirts. A pair of kingfisher blue strapless dresses (described as ‘blue de Sevres’) and a series of ruffle and lace embellished blue grey looks rounded off this soigne yet often surprisingly wearable outing. Before the models made their final exit I spotted a well-known journalist mouth ‘exquisite’ to her FROW partner - Copping’s quietly confident customer is sure to agree come spring.