One edge of fashion is tilting toward the darker, more sophisticated side of sexuality—but who would ever expect an Emilio Pucci collection to go there? It’s a sign of Peter Dundas’s growing confidence as a pied piper to the pack of the hot and fashion-conscious that he devoted the opening of his fall collection to the exploration of black. Proving his skills as a designer who can cut, he sliced the little black dress and patent leather skirts into shapely forms, filling in shardlike cutouts with tulle and slashing hems to show plenty of lissom leg. “Reserved,” let it be said, is hardly the word for it. “I was thinking, in the beginning about Belle de Jour—and about menswear,” he said. Between those two starting points, he worked up a collection which was as strong on mannish tailoring and outerwear as it was on taking care of the woman who likes to display her curves.
In sync with the feeling that is breaking out everywhere, there was something distinctly more grown-up in the luxe effects he mastered. Somewhat on the same page as Tom Ford or Riccardo Tisci, he took the idea of alligator skin, first sculpting it into a body-molded sheath dress and blazer, and then using the pattern of scales as placement decoration on a velvet devore top and fit-and-flare chiffon dress. And yes: A nod to the Emilio Pucci house print was in there, eventually—in a silk pajama suit, a couple of dresses, and a pleated lamé flyaway peasant dress.
Still, this collection served better to spotlight the depth and range Dundas is bringing to a house he has broadened beyond the limits of jazzy surface pattern. The remit of the Emilio Pucci brand he’s quietly been building up in Florence now extends to fantastically tailored coats in menswear checks, patent leather, and fur, as well as tuxedo jackets. He’s a man with a skill, and a knack for glamour. But now, there’s a grounding in daywear going on here, too—just look at his rendering of a navy peacoat in curly Alpine lamb, with a sweeping collar in black goat hair. It has the mark of a fashion trophy of fall 2012, if ever we saw one.
Photo: Marcio Madeira/firstVIEW