Peter Copping to leave Oscar de la Renta, return to Europe

NEW YORK (AP) — Oscar de la Renta says its creative director Peter Copping is leaving after two years in the job.

Copping said Thursday that he was leaving for personal reasons, to return to Europe.

“I have loved my time in New York where I hope to return at some point in the future,” he said in a statement.

Copping joined the luxury label as artistic director in October of 2014, having previously served in the same post at Nina Ricci. He was hoping to work alongside Oscar de la Renta himself. But it was not to be: Just days after Copping was hired, the legendary designer died of cancer.

Copping presented his debut New York Fashion Week collection in February of 2015.

This past February, several collections later, he spoke of a delicate balance between keeping the Oscar de la Renta legacy alive and also bringing new ideas to the label.

“I’m very respectful of the legacy of the house but you have to challenge it as well, it can’t just stand still,” Copping told The Associated Press backstage at Fashion Week. “You need to move forward. But it’s very important to do it gradually, step by step.”

Longtime devotees were surprised, at that show, to see a leather dress in a shade of raspberry — something new for the classic label.

“It was something new to put into an Oscar de la Renta show,” Copping said. “I think the silhouettes felt very Oscar in some ways, fitted through the waist and then going into a bell skirt. But the material took it somewhere else.”

In an example of his efforts to mix old and new, Copping said he was looking at old 18th-century fabrics.