So many ideas originated with the Greeks. Democracies, philosophy, the Pythagorean Theorem—though some infer that the roots of these mathematical equations came from Egypt—and even pizza. The Greeks also has the first crack at one of the continuing trends for spring/summer 2013, peplum.
In ancient Greece peplum could be anything from a woman’s loose outer tunic to a shawl. And though the look and silhouette of peplum has changed throughout the ages, for the most part the peplum silhouette has consistently given women that instant hourglass shape.
The modern peplum silhouette became very popular in the 1940s, helped by film icon Lauren Bacall in her first film, To Have and Have Not. In 1944 costume designer Milo Anderson outfitted Bacall in a checkered peplum suit that served as Bacall’s main outfit throughout the film. Soon after, peplum began popping up in film and on Parisian runways.
Peplum was peeped a plenty by fashion pundits during fall/winter 2012 presentations. (Hmm, that’s a tongue twister.) And for spring/summer 2013 several designers continued the peplum trend in their collections. Though the peplum silhouette has not strayed dramatically from its 1940s re-introduction, in this current incarnation, designers have found innovative ways to incorporate the peplum motif that will keep fashion-conscious consumers begging for more.
For spring/summer 2013 Monique Lhuillier was inspired by water and aquatic life. Lhuillier also employed the mermaid/water nymph motif in this collection which served the peplum motif well. Imagine water nymphs with extra fins around the waist and hip area. Instead of a ruffled peplum with flounce and movement, Lhuillier’s peplum was more static and architectural, but still flattering to the hip area. Though many industry trend predictors contend that designers should only include a few peplums looks in their collection, Lhuillier decided to counter this advice and include several peplum pieces in this outing. And matched with her aquatic inspiration, this decision was a win win.
Nicole Miller, in her quest to revitalize her brand, attempted to find a balance edgy chic seen through the lens of youthful vitality. Instead of incorporating the more sophisticated uses of peplum, Miller went for dropped-waist peplum with flounce or pairing peplum with tribal prints or peplum peeping under edgy, biker jackets. And it worked.
Known for rocker glam chic, Falguni & Shane Peacock’s spring/summer 2013 collection was a combination or space-age rockstar meets cypher couture. Falguni & Shane Peacock expertly combined their digital prints and metallic fabrications with modern peplum silhouettes. And like Lhuillier, their peplums were more fashion-forward and architectural than classically feminine.
Emerging designer Kristi Vosbeck has also picked up the peplum silhouette for her spring/summer 2013 collection, evidenced in three looks. Though Vosbeck’s peplum dresses are reminiscent of the 1940s silhouettes, by marrying peplum with the continuing trend of animal prints, Vosbeck elevates her looks from just an homage to the 40s peplum to garments that lots of women will want in their spring/summer wardrobe.
European runways also continued the peplum trend this season. Dries Van Noten mixed a few peplum looks into their Kurt Cobain/grunge‒inspired collection. Dries Van Noten brilliantly combined the hard and the soft, the masculine and the feminine is this spring/summer outing. A plaid jacket with a peplum flounce paired with a floral silk organza skirt distilled Dries Van Noten’s hard/soft polarity. While floral-embellished peplum jackets with plaid masculine, knee-shorts forwarded the androgynous aesthetic. And Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen used the peplum silhouette as an opportunity to express the honeycomb motif seen throughout the collection.
Whether the peplum silhouette embraces a futuristic slant or revels in classic sophistication, for spring/summer 2013 it is a far cry from what the Greeks had in mind. And for fashion, which is always moving forward, that is a good thing!!
—William S. Gooch