I’ll be honest, 6 months ago when the fashion world hailed peplums to be the shape of the coming season I thought it was just a fad, something that would pass, a trend from the catwalk that would remain on the catwalk. I just didn’t see the average woman embracing it, nor it becoming the commercial hit it was claimed to be. Adding extra bulk around the middle, wearing an impractical shape with excess fabric flapping away, it just didn’t seem to have widespread appeal. However; it appears I was wrong. Rather than slowing down, this trend has been gaining pace, with shows including Zac Posen and Burberry Prorsum featuring them heavily in their A/W ’12 shows and high street stores like Zara featuring multiple variations of the silhouette. Tops, skirts, dresses – you name it, they’ve all been ‘peplumed’.
As with most trends in the fashion world which we see go from fashion prime time to mere irrelevance, the peplum is no exception. It’s hardly a groundbreaking trend, being the dominant silhouette of the 19th century and then re-established in both the 1940s and 1980s. With the debut of Christian Dior’s innovative ‘New Look’ collection in the 40s, a standout piece being the ‘Bar Jacket’, this extra flair of fabric coming from the waist became synonymous with the era and ever since has been associated with the allure of old school Hollywood glamour.
It seems the popularity of this playful shape lies in its figure enhancing abilities. If done well, the peplum can help to create an hourglass shape by cinching in the waist, adding definition and highlighting curves. It all lies in the proportions of the waist to hip ratio. Another thing to consider with this style is the level of volume in the trim. Without volume, it will merely become a floppy frill sagging from the waist, yet with just the right amount it can become a defining flare to your waist and hips. In terms of styling, simple is best. By retaining a minimal aesthetic in the rest of your outfit, the peplum becomes the focal point and creates a sleek, sophisticated and architectural silhouette.
As it’s clear that designers, the high street, even the Duchess of Cambridge are buying into this trend, maybe it’s time to introduce a peplum to your wardrobe. Add a little poof to your hips and a spring to your step, or as American Vogue says, ‘Dare to Flare’!