Peter Som and the modern Marlene

What would the masculinely-sexy femme fatale look like if plucked from the 1930s and delivered onto the doorstep of the modern day?

We imagine Peter Som must have been pondering that question hard from the creative playground of his design studio, and what resulted for fall / winter 2012 was just one way of answering the question.

It’s certainly not the definitive answer. But it’s one that gets top marks for its subtlety, its lesson in melding the past with the present.

Som wanted to extract the essence of Marlene Dietrich and Katherine Hepburn; extract the science of their ability to look feminine while dressing masculinely. In truth a lot of Som’s pieces off the New York fashion week (NYFW) runway were far more feminine than the iconic suited-up imagery of the aforementioned screen stars. But the lesson holds true. The wide, cocooned shoulders on jackets and coats, the tailored elements all hinted at that ’30 and ’40s inspiration, but pants were slim – at times even scuba-like – not the wide cuts you’d expect.

And therein lies one key to Som’s equation. Balance. The more pronounced the shoulders, the skinnier the pants. Where pants were relaxed they were worn below tailored shirts or slimmer-cut tops.

For the remainder Som’s collection merged in two other current trends that completed its modern transformation: prints, textures and collars drawn from the Orient (thank Dietrich’s Shanghai Express), and high-sheen sheer organza and fish-tail like satin peplums which felt distinctly mermaid-like.

2012 is full of subtle hybrids and revivals of revivals – so while Peter Som’s collection doesn’t shout its inspirations from the rooftops that’s no bad thing. If Som was studying the science of the appeal of Dietrich and Hepburn, we can extract a lesson from him in how to inject an evolving strain of that essence into our modern-day wardrobes.

You can see all of the Peter Som autumn (fall) / winter 2012 runway collection by clicking on a thumbnail on the left. From there you can browse through each of the pictures from the fashion show.

Also from this fashion show.

Details

Beauty

Backstage

Photography by Imaxtree