“It’s a palate cleanser as I was really focusing on the line of the clothes,” says Peter Som of the 7-look long whiteout—sheer white nylon chiffon and organza dresses alternating with white silk crepe tuxedo shirts and ivory flannel pants layered with fuzzy ivory Mongolian lamb or lacquered wool tweed coats—that opened his Fall 2012 collection.
Though color emerged for the remainder of the show, the all-white looks at the beginning were quite a departure for the designer, considering he is known for his bold color combinations. Case in point: a number of the audience members were sporting some of Som’s photo-real, multi-colored floral items from the Spring 2012 collection.
But Som didn’t forego his color combining entirely: his signature Kitty camo print in muted tones was in evidence and there were two exuberantly patchwork dyed fox fur toppers, which the designer said were inspired by artist Nick Cave’s soundsuits on display this past fall at Mary Boone Gallery.
Happily, paring down to one shade on most garments enabled Som to play fast and loose with shape. An emerald wool melton bomber jacket featured a ruff, and chiffon, organza, and bonded satin dresses sprouted all manners of ruffled peplums and trains.
Som summoned dual muses this season in Golden Age Hollywood icons Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn. “It started with them because of the way that they wore menswear in a really strong and sexy way—and didn’t lose any of their femininity,” Som said. “Then I obviously wanted to introduce certain feminine aspects with the cinched waist and that kind of thing.”
With Krysten Ritter in a belted khaki day dress from Som’s Resort collection and Olivia Palermo in a contoured waist tweed-front jacket and high-waisted trousers, it appears the designer’s front row cohort was already on board.