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Peplum Dresses

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What’s old is new again. That seems to be fashion’s mantra with a nip here and a tuck there. Take peplum dresses, for example, the Greeks deserve the nod for originality on this statement piece. In fact, the word peplum is derived from the Greek peplos. Women of the day folded the top half of the long cloth over and cinched it at the waist. The fold-over layer created a ruffled skirt situated on top of the floor-length straight skirt. This added interest to an otherwise tube-like appearance.
BCBGMAXAZRIA’s Riya Peplum Dress is, in fact, a close rendition of the Greek tailoring. The name Riya is derived from the Greek Ria, meaning beloved. The sleeveless Riya dress provides a modern touch of cutouts at the waist, but the crisscross of fabric at the bodice that effortlessly cascades down the length of one side of the dress offers a Grecian element. The underskirt’s side slit finishes the look on this peplum dress.
The Victorian’s penchant for modesty updated the peplum dress to accommodate a more mobile female population while maintaining respectable coverage of her body. Johanna Ortiz’s Tiana combines the rich textures of poppy-imprinted jacquard cloth with cascading folds of fabric. Tiana, another derivative from the Greeks meaning princess, combines Victorian and Latin elements in this feminine and elegant update.
Peplum dresses were reworked in the 1940s, and combined with padded shoulders, accentuated the small waist. The peplum skirting added a modest proportion to the body-revealing straight underskirt. Rue La La’s BGL Wool-Blend Skirt Suit adds a modern dimension with the seaming at the shoulders and peplum-finished jacket.
The 1980s, though, is most likely the definitive era that many think of when conjuring visions of peplum styling. Who can forget the now iconic turn on the White House dance floor between a princess and her Hollywood crush? Chiara Boni captures the gracefulness of the moment with La Petite Robe Lamia Off-the-Shoulder Peplum Dress. It is the epitome of refashioning the best of what has come before.
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