The peplum, that classic little overskirt sprouting from the hips of jackets, pencil skirts, dresses, and even some unfortunate pants have seen a fresh revival in recent years, culminating in the coming season, when it will well and truly blow up as part of the Ladylike trend.
The term “peplum” derives from the Greek word for shawl, “peplos,” which draped lightly on the ancient Greeks’ torsos. In modern fashion, peplums began drawing attention in the mid-19th century, and in the 1947 Christian Dior presented his New Look silhouette, changing fashion forever with its nipped-waists, peplums and full skirts to accentuate an hourglass figure.
The peplum continued to be popular in the early 1950s, adorning suit jackets and dresses of sophisticated women. Like most things in fashion, it found its way out of the limelight for a while, and in the ’80s, sprung back with a vengeance, this time accompanied by monstrous shoulder pads to match the exaggerated hips.
Thank everything holy that the ’80s are now gone, but also that the peplum is once again occupying our consciousness via the creations of Jason Wu, Peter Som, Tory Burch and most recently, Raf Simons in his first haute couture collection for Christian Dior. Peplums were an integral feature in the much celebrated show that brought back the New Look in thoroughly fresh guises. They were placed on everything from a double breasted jacket to architectural tops both minimalist and decadently embroidered. Could there be a more perfect fashion full-circle story?
Fittingly, Olivia Palermo turned up at the show in a Christian Dior peplum top in black leather, matched with a navy skirt. Like her, other street style mavens and It-Girls have latched on to the trend – which makes complete sense, considering the peplum needs to be driven by a bold personality with some styling finesse. On those who can pull off its drama, whimsy and sometimes tricky proportions, peplums always look absolutely fabulous.