Fashion reintroduces peplum and refreshes memories in process

Fashion reintroduces peplum and refreshes memories in process

Peplums first appeared in the mid-19th century. But it was really at the end of the 1940s that they took on a truly defined form and look. In the Chanel collection from 1947, were all sorts of peplums attached to different jacket models

February 16, 2012, Thursday/ 17:10:00

The winds of nostalgia have been blowing strong these last few years in the fashion world. Forgotten styles stake out a place for themselves in the wardrobes of today as fashion enthusiasts revamp them to work with modern looks. Lace, cloche skirts, platform heels and many other looks from years past now have peplums, that heirloom from the fashion world of yore, to keep them company.

We are, of course, accustomed to seeing shop windows filled with looks from the past, though these looks generally come in new forms. And one of the most talked-about trends when it comes to recycled looks these days is peplum. Alright, but what exactly is peplum? Peplum is the name given to a short overskirt or ruffle attached to the waistline of a jacket, blouse or dress.

Peplums first appeared in the mid-19th century. But it was really at the end of the 1940s that they took on a truly defined form and look. In the Chanel collection from 1947, there are all sorts of peplums attached to different jacket models, creating a look that we have come to associate with the 1950s. Though there was somewhat of a reappearance of peplums when jackets with shoulder pads appeared in the 1980s, it has not been a trend much in the spotlight since. That is, until last year’s Marc Jacobs collection. Actually, I was so drawn in by the polka-dot focus in that collection that the peplum detailing used by Jacobs on his skirts and blouses was not something I immediately focused on. This winter, peplum staked out a rather silent, demure place for itself among other, more noticeable trends. Many of us may not have even noticed the peplum all around us, especially in more luxury labels and special collections. In the coming summer collections, however, peplum will be everywhere, on dresses and attached to skirts. You won’t miss it!

Long peplum skirts

Peplum will show itself in summer 2012 attached to jackets -- and thus remain faithful to its origins -- as well as to blouses and skirts. Chanel used peplum on its jackets for its 2011 winter collection, just as it did in 1947. In the meantime, designers and design houses like Marc Jacobs, Jason Wu, Versace, Badgley Mischka and Alexander McQueen are offering up lots of peplum in their summer collections but have reconfigured it in many new ways. Rodarte offers up peplum with balloon skirts, while Jason Wu gives us peplum in an asymmetric look. Alexander McQueen’s choice is to mix up its peplum with ruffles and asymmetric detailing. As for designer Dries Van Noten, he gives us a completely new look and offers up peplum as a detail on harem-style pants. And thus, no matter your personal style, you’ll likely find a peplum look that works for you this year.

I think the first long peplum skirt I ever saw was on one of the long skirts offered up by the Chicago-based Haute Hijab label. Haute Hijab has designs that are independent of reigning fashions but definitely keep pace with modern looks. Their long peplum skirts have been on radar screens for a year now. This label designs both daily as well as fancy occasion looks, and one could say that the long peplum skirts are definitely better for special occasions. In the collection prepared by Kayra Giyim of Turkey, there are satin peplum jackets done in both plain and asymmetrical styles. It should be noted that special boutiques with tailor-made wear are also cashing in on the peplum trend these days. The label Pembe Pırıltılar has had peplum pantsuit combinations on its website for the past few weeks now.

Peplum affects bridal wear

It’s still too early for the real wedding season to begin, but there are, of course, already certain bridal gown styles that are set to be more popular this summer. The summer of 2012 will see bridal gowns less puffy than in previous years and, yes, peplum will play an important role in the detailing. Last week, while perusing some bridal gowns at Beyman, I was struck by the peplum skirt on a bridal gown by the increasingly popular Middle Eastern designer Georges Hobeika. And I have noticed peplums appearing on both bustier and skirts in the models of many fashion houses showing bridal gowns for the coming season.