Last season, having emerged from a bout of Seventh Avenue turmoil, Peter Som struggled to show his Fall collection, a self-financed capsule of just 16 looks. What a difference a season makes. Today he returned to fine (and financed) form, with the wind of a manufacturing and licensing deal at his back and a full range on display. Under an overall directive of "extreme happiness" (told you things were different this season), Som took his inspirations—Lartigue's iconic photos of twenties-era Deauville, Hokusai's woodcuts, classic cruisewear—and wove them together with a sort of madcap thread.
This was the designer in colorfully eccentric lady mode, mixing stripey tweeds with all manner of prints and off-kilter fabrics, like a turquoise leopard jacquard. He kept his silhouettes soigné but found ways to give his classic uptown standards a whimsical tweak. "I wanted all the clothes to sparkle," he said. "Every fabric has a little shine." That was true, almost to a look. There were also lots of little details, like the unexpected scruff of safety orange tulle at the waistband of a dress, or the jeweled neckline on an otherwise plain-Jane knit. Throughout, Som was solidly playing to his strengths and to his customer. As for the recent rumors that he'll be putting in some time at Tommy Hilfiger, the designer kept it simple with a smile and a "No comment."