Yesterday after a false start at Dover Street Market - a perfect excuse to gaze acquisitively (but pointlessly, as I'm only fit for a tent) at some Azzedine Alaia and Celine - we dropped into the Gazelli Art Gallery on Dover Street to see Peter Copping. Regular readers of FEAL will know Copping is the English artistic director of Nina Ricci Paris, and he has been in London to launch the brands' new signature handbag La Rue.
As with all things Peter does for the house (and in his life generally) the event was wonderfully charming and without the slightest pomp, and served not only to showcase the tactile bag and Mr. Copping himself, but also the work of British artist Jo Ratliffe and photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin who joined forces to create the launch imagery for the La Rue bag.
Fashion can truly come alive in creative collaboration, and this particular collusion took shape in organic stages, beginning with the development of the new signature Ricci bag, which got its debut on the runway in Paris back in March. "Ours is not like the Louis Vuitton show, where its every girl with a different bag," said Peter Copping, while giving the pink snake version of the bag a squeeze. "We just did one new bag, the La Rue, but in different sizes and fabrications. After the show our retailers loved it so I wanted to do something special to share it with the press." With its series of soft pleats folding towards the central opening, and pretty grosgrain ribbon pull the La Rue is basically a Ricci-fied version of a doctors bag, and very lovely it is too.
The finished image by Inez + Vinoodh for Nina Ricci with Jo Ratliffe
To bring it to life for launch was another matter. Copping shot the Autumn/Winter 2012 Nina Ricci campaign with photographers Inez and Vinoodh, and when he talked of giving an extra visual push to La Rue the couple immediately suggested the British artist Jo Ratliffe, with whom they recently collaborated on a Balmain film (see below). Jo works in the mediums of illustration, painting and animation and decided to bring a element of collage and fine art to the bag images. "Flowers made sense as they are exquisite in their own right but also made the bag the focal point. I know the Nina Ricci brand, and this feels right. If you look closely at the image, you'll see I hand painted many of the flowers in oils to make it feel more authentic." I then comment to her that dressed in full Nina Ricci with her pink hair and strong brows she couldn't be a more perfect muse for the house. At this she points out that until yesterday she and Peter had only met via email, but I get the feeling we'll see more from this creative partnership soon.
Jo Ratliffe, me, Peter Copping
The pink croc version of Nina Ricci's La Rue
The La Rue launches in September. www.ninaricci.com
Here is Jo's work with Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin for Balmain featuring Kate Moss
To see more of Jo Ratliffe's work go to www.JoCanDraw.com