Peter Som was in an eccentric mood for Fall, having found himself attracted to the "quirky, dark, and idiosyncratic" qualities of Diane Arbus' photographs of downtown New Yorkers. "They're reality-based and fantasy-oriented," the designer explained. Much the same could be said of his collection, which ran the gamut from attractive (if a tad vintage-y) cocktail dresses, rendered in sumptuous materials like mille-feuille organza and duchesse satin, to luxurious separates. These included full skirts and slouchy Donegal tweed pants, sweater jackets and distressed tweed toppers, and Chantilly lace-sleeved print blousesmany of them worn under extravagant furs (no signs of recession chez Som).
If the collection had a bit of a grab-bag feel and occasionally found the designer treading on familiar ground, it also had plenty of desirable moments. Som knows his customer, and she's not going to be lacking a wish list. He gave his clothes a compelling touch-me quality by creating texture with beads and feathers and autumnal tweeds. His inventive palette (cerise, lemon, navy, plum) was the result of his imagining what Arbus' black-and-white photos would look like in color. The "skewed" skirts with layered hems and buttoned-on panels of cloth may have been too studied in their quirkiness, but a mismatched blouse-and-skirt ensemble topped with a cheetah-print coat had an irresistible Grey Gardens-style charm.