If you're a girl and have thus far shied from the peplum trend, now is your moment to shine. And, since lately we're seeing this cut in metallic fabrics or with sequins affixed festively, shining will be a cinch! Get it? Cinch? Oh wait, that will make more sense when you know the shape of this thing.
The above Alexander McQueen pic is a bit of a Case of the Disappearing Nipples, no? Anyway. Real quick-like for those of you new to the word, peplum is that little skirting overtop of another skirt, or a ruffle designed to look as such. You'll find it at the bottom of waist-hugging blouses and jackets, in the midst of a dress, or classicly, at the top of a skirt. I recently read an article crediting ancient Greece for the trend, but this is not peplum. It's just a rope around a sheet.
It was only in the 1800s that anyone had real pep in their step. Gody's Lady Book, a sort of September issue of Vogue in those days, gives the first glance of peplum in 1857.
As you can sort of see in Gody's Lady Book (there is something so icky about that title, but anyway), peplum was actually a separate piece of skirting at its inception, which seems like a versatile accessory to me. Nauticoco and a few other Etsy designers thought the same thing and it's a totally available commodity again! CLICK HERE for the hook-up.
In fact, HERE IS A LINK TO A TUTORIAL on how to make your own peplum belt (pictured below). You can find scrap, reclaimed leather in the second-hand store's fabric department.
Continuing on through history for a sec, the trend pops back up at the tail end of the '30s as evidenced by the lovely illustration below. Aaaaand it continued on through the '40s much like so.
Then came the late '80s, and suddenly, everyone was all over it again. See? Here's it is, all over Lady Di.
Peplum was ushered into '90s in a satiny mess of a situation. Come on, Hillary! Just rip the sleeves, bows, and underskirt off of Ashley's dress here and give the girl a pair of skinny jeans so she can go to the dance.
There was kind of a lull until 2008 (below is a Balenciaga design from that year) when we started to see the shape flit over runways here and there, but it's only been a year since it really took off in ready to wear.
Happily, it's has been everywhere as of late. It's the kind of cut that celebrates curves, it's forgiving to a tummy, and it's nicely tailored so it doesn't make you look bigger than you are. Salma and Solange love it for exactly those reasons. p.s. This yellow Rachel Roy dress is INCREDIBLE, am I right?
Speaking of curvy girls, peplum might be Kim's favourite cut and though I
am not the biggest fan ...am not that into ...wish people would stop asking me if we're related because we have similar last names, I have to admit she usually looks pretty rad in the cut. Though, apparently, not all the time. Are those office shorts under there? Ak!
And for the petite chickadee, it gives a bit of an hourglass illusion. Check out Kate, looking chic and defined! Channelling the original People's Princess much?
But the best part of the peplum cut is that it is both elegant and playful. The tailored waist combined with that flirty little skirty? It's like a cat wearing a very serious tam and ascot. (Okay, I just wanted you to see this funny guy. Look at him!)
And now, peruse a few of my faves for the upcoming party season:
This guy is by Antonio Berardi and it's so gorgeous it's aaaaalmost worth the four grand it takes to buy it on Net-A-Porter.
Oooh other end of the spendin' spectrum! At about $50, this top from Oasis is a total steal.
Bury me in this Ellery dress, please.
Then, from biggest to smallest for some reason, it's a structured piece from Phillip Lim, a lacey affair by Robert Rodriguez, and a sparkley top by Tinley Road.