Peplums Are Creeping Their Way Back Into Fashion (Yes, Really)

Y2K style fully came back this year—see Katie Holmes’s dress-over-jeans as proof—but are the 2010s the next fashion era to have a revival? The decade wasn’t that long ago, but there’s already been signs that point to yes. The business-casual look of the 2010s, for one, has been creeping its way back into fashion. Though today it’s via sleek suiting, and less about bodycon dresses and sock buns. Like it or not, there’s also a more polarizing trend from the decade that’s having a comeback, both on the runways and the red carpets. Are you ready for the return of peplum silhouettes?

Best described as a flared, gathered, or pleated piece of fabric at the waist of a garment, the adornment really took off in the early 2010s. Lanvin’s spring 2010 collection had ruffled cocktail dresses with exaggerated peplums; Jil Sander’s spring 2011 show had colorful looks with peplum on tees and floor-length skirts; Alexander McQueen’s spring 2012 collection even had peplum waists on structural suits. The look gained further momentum when it started being worn by celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Rihanna, and Nicole Kidman on the red carpets. It almost became a competition—who could sport the biggest and boldest of all them.

Jil Sander spring 2011

Monica Feudi / GoRunway.com

Givenchy spring 2022

Photo: Alessandro Lucioni / Gorunway.com

Since the early to mid 2010s, however, the dramatic peplum has been all but retired. Until now, that is. This year, we’ve seen the much-bemoaned piece slowly come back into the fashion fray. On the spring runways, labels such as Givenchy, Dior, and Prabal Gurung have all shown new styles in stiffer fabrications, making them feel a little more modern and less romantic or flowy. 

Peplum shapes have also been having a moment on the red carpets. At the Cannes Film Festival back in May, Deepika Padukone hit the red carpet in a red Louis Vuitton gown punctuated with the controversial waistline. At the HCA TV Awards in August, Sydney Sweeney wore a vintage Mugler dress that felt fresh. Even the peplum top has made a recent cameo at Comic-Con in July, on Danai Gurira.

These new peplums feel less over-the-top than the first iterations. They have a more subtle flare versus the in-your-face ones of the 2010s. But you still can’t miss them, and they’re becoming a focal point of the ensemble once again. The question is: Will you bring back the peplum, too? Or, like low rise jeans, perhaps you will leave it to the stars. Ball’s in your court!

Below, more of this year’s best peplum sightings. 

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