The Midas Touch

Writer Vivienne Tang | August 22, 2014

Psychedelic print wrap dresses have been replaced with seductive, lacy floor-sweeping numbers. See how Peter Dundas’ sultry Pucci woman is continuously taking the Italian fashion house to new heights.

At Emilio Pucci, fashion designers have come and gone, and none of them have had the charisma and panache to reawaken the dormant label – until the arrival of Peter Dundas. Fashion houses can only dream of a comeback that can emulate the renaissance of Emilio Pucci that has been spearheaded by the glamorous, yet down-to-earth designer. His predecessors all drowned in a sea of redundant patterns and overflowing colours when they desperately tried to revive the house, but not with Dundas.

The famous psychedelic prints are hardly recognisable these days, yet Dundas’ captivating and seductive collections still stay true to the Emilio Pucci lifestyle, evoking an air of femme-fatal and high society.

“Pucci is such a great brand, but on my arrival I felt it was time for a fresh take on the girl – a focus on her, rather than the stereotypical idea of solely a print,” says the good-looking, overtly heterosexual, athletic Norwegian designer, who would look as comfortable on a surf board or a beach, as he does in the extravagant Palazzo Pucci in Florence. “I try to include the heritage in less obvious and unexpected ways. The patterns become cuts on a dress or integrated in an embroidery.”

What many people might have found disrespectful to the brand’s legacy, however, turned out to be the winning formula. Daringly sexy, yet charming, his collections have contributed to the soaring success of the brand’s revamp. And perhaps a bit rebellious like the founder Emilio Pucci himself (a military man and politician who started designing skiwear in the late 40s and found fame in the 60s for his kaleidoscopic prints), Dundas has not only captured the hearts of the critics, but also the fashion cognoscenti worldwide.

With brand names, including Roberto Cavalli, Emanual Ungaro and Jean Paul Gaultier, on his resume, Dundas joined Emilio Pucci in 2009 and hasn’t looked back since, instead he has given the brand a really good stir. Still staying true to the brand’s jet-set lifestyle of its original designer and its clientele, which included Jacqueline Kennedy, Sophia Loren, and Marilyn Monroe, who was buried in an Emilio Pucci dress, Dundas is continuing the tradition of fusing the brand’s image with the world’s glitterati. Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lawrence, Anna Dello Russo and Carine Roitfeld don’t shy away from his provocative, but noble custom-designed lace and silk creations and are all regularly seen wearing his sexy, skin-revealing red-carpet looks.

The body is my greatest source of influence. I don’t think about a woman being sexy, but rather I want her to feel confident and desirable
~ Peter Dundas