Oscar de la Renta's Modern Nod to Marie Antoinette

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Copping took inspiration from 18th century motifs and 1973's legendary fashion showdown—Battle of Versailles

The Prince George ballroom was Marie Antoinette blue — from wall paint to seating to carpet floors — the first nod to the direction Oscar de la Renta’s creative director Peter Copping was headed for FW16. Specifically, 1973’s epic evening the Battle of Versailles — a Zoolander-esque walk-off of sorts with fashion’s most in-demand players, but rather the designers (not models) of the time.

“Oscar went over with a group of other American designers and took on the French and they had a huge fashion show at Versailles,” says Copping of the event that saw de la Renta, Halston, Stephen Burrows, Bill Blass and Anne Klein battling it out with Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro and Hubert de Givenchy (all in an effort to raise funds to restore the palace). “Oscar’s clothes at the time were much more minimal compared to what they developed into, so that got me thinking about minimalism in contrast to the more decorative French styles and over-the-top place at Versailles.” 

Copping’s 18th century-inspired looks weren’t quite as compelling as his exceptionally beautiful spring show (a moment, that if there were still doubts, firmly sealed the return of carnation flowers amongst society's set), but there were some pretty options still for red-carpet stylists such as Kate Young (Natalie Portman and Sienna Miller are clients) and Jeanann Williams (Naomi Watts), who were both sitting front-row along with The Newsroom actress Olivia Munn. A sparkly emerald tinsel-flecked cocktail dress, a dusty rose floral jacquard draped gown or Copping’s favorite — an ice blue radzimir draped bodice gown with a tasteful Jolie-esque 'Jo-Leg' slit that he says would look “appropriate but kind of fresh."

Speaking of fresh, the designer notes that not all of the billowy numbers were in fact ball gowns: “Sometimes it was a bustier worn with a skirt — the final look, for example, was two pieces. You can wear the bustier as shown or with a pant and a pair of pumps. I like its versatility and thinking of different ways of dressing for evening.”

PRETTY IN PINK: A model on Oscar de la Renta's fall 2016 runway. (Photo: Getty Images)