Variety

Peplum: Adding pep to your wardrobe

| Updated on: May 01, 2012
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What's all this fuss about a frill of fabric? ARCHANA ACHAL takes a look at the peplum, the latest silhouette to hit the fashion world this summer

The words flounce and frill usually conjure up images of little girls skipping about in voluminous dresses, replete with sashes and bows. But that shall be the image no longer. Now, think Scarlett Johansson striking a pose on the red carpet for the premier of a recently launched blockbuster film in a pretty, rosebud detailed dress by Prada with a single, flared piece of fabric gathered at the waist and falling away from the body. That frill, stitched to tops, the midline of dresses and the upper section of skirts is causing the doyennes of the world of fashion to sit up and take notice. Meet the peplum, a feminine style that is perfect for fun summer outfits.

Chic comeback

The peplum is a trend that has faded in and out of fashion history over the decades. Women in ancient Greece wore a longer form of the modern peplum called a peplos, which was a tubular garment that was folded over and gathered at the waist. During the 1940s, when fitted pieces and smart dressing were the norm, women started wearing peplum jackets and dresses to accentuate their tiny waistlines and create the illusion of an hourglass figure. The trend returned in the 1980s, when shoulder pads ruled the runway and the peplum was used to balance out the top-heavy style. That decade was all about being over-the-top, and the peplum added another dimension of volume and colour. Now, the peplum is poised for a comeback as fashion is moving in the direction of acid colours from the 1980s and Mad Men-esque ‘50s glamour.

Making it new

If you love adding a dash of drama to your outfit, the modern re-interpretation of the peplum is the way to go. The peplum today is more sculptured and textural, rather than being just a fancy frill. The sleeker it is, the better it looks and the more flattering it will be to your shape. Since the peplum adds a bit of volume to your hips, it is better to go in for a dress or skirt that has a smooth, minimally-gathered peplum. The style adopted by Fendi, with an almost architectural-looking peplum is modern to the point of being futuristic. The monochrome method works very well here too, with the peplum and some bits of the outfit remaining a solid block of colour. More often than not, the peplum is the same colour as the dress or skirt onto which it is stitched, to maintain an evenness of tone. Burberry Prorsum, on the other hand, came out with some interesting peplums for its Spring Summer 2012 collection, along with a traditional pleated peplum black jacket and beige silk mesh peplum sweater. Its silk heritage blouse in mustard has a drop waist-line and peplum flare, keeping the look soft and bohemian. Gucci's checked dress with a sweetheart neckline has a traditional pattern but a modern peplum with an asymmetric cut.

Figure factor

The peplum style is flattering on most body types, but getting it right for your own is a bit of a challenge. Peplum tops are always a bit dicey as the length of the flare is important, as is what to pair the top with. The safer option is a peplum, knee-length, pencil skirt which adds graceful volume to the hips and is easy to match with simple vests and tops. Peplum dresses can have a short hemline but they do have the tendency to look more 1980s and costume-like than might be desired. A longer hemline and simple neckline is more fitting for a night out. The focus of the outfit is the flare, so keeping accessories to a minimum is a must.

Hollywood actors like Jennifer Aniston and divas of the music scene like Beyoncé have gladly embraced the peplum. So has the newest fashion-forward royal, Princess Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, or as we still know her, Princess Kate. It looks like the fun frill is here to stay.

>archana.a@thehindu.co.in

Published on November 15, 2017

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