Peter Dundas gave the hippie-deluxe look he's made his signature during his two years at Emilio Pucci the old heave-ho tonight. Call it a case of quitting while you're ahead: Sales for Spring and orders for pre-fall are way, way up. But the designer has already moved on to new inspirations. For Fall he's thinking along more refined yet altogether decadent lines. Before the show he rattled off a list of reference points: hunters; Tyrolea; winter palaces; Romy Schneider as Sissi; Victoire de Castellane, the designer of Dior's haute joaillerie; and a Parisian figure known for flaunting her very belle poitrine. That's right, a bare leg may have reigned supreme at this Florence house since Dundas' arrival, but no longer. This season, the bust is it.
He framed it with corseted hourglass dresses that had long sleeves and a little collar or a bow, and sometimes both, at the neckline—one part temptress, the other part decorous. These came in all manner of materials, from practically humble loden wool to positively sumptuous black velvet embellished with crystals arrayed in diamond patterns, as well as in the familiar Pucci prints. Well, make that not so familiar. To emphasize the rustic, raw part of the story, he reintepreted the prints in hand-painted renderings.
As for all those sharp-shouldered, double-breasted Pucci blazers in the front row? There were still some rigorously tailored examples on today's runway, but they were part of the capsule collection for men that Dundas was debuting alongside his womenswear. His female fashion fans, on the other hand, will have to do some updating before next season. His new jackets come with a little puff at the shoulders. A suede version with leather appliqués worn with matching knickers edged into costume territory, but it was a rare misstep in a terrific collection. The Hollywood set that's gone gaga for Dundas will be looking for red carpets to wear his dresses on all year long.