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Peplum Redux, The Unexpected Resurgence

In 2024, designers have risen to the challenge of refreshing the dated peplum design by making a few key updates. Take a look.

While Y2K styles have held sway over the fashion world for the past two years, 2023 witnessed a resurgence of trends from the 2010s, including color blocking and high-low hemlines. Now, in 2024, it seems we’ve come full circle as skinny waistlines and exaggerated hips signal the unexpected return of the once-controversial peplums.

Emma Stone in Louis Vuitton
Emma Stone at Oscars 2024 in a Louis Vuitton gown.

Once dismissed as a fashion faux pas due to their peculiar resemblance to lampshades, peplums are now making waves on the glamorous stages of red carpet events and the runways of Spring 2024.

Design luminaries such as Prabal Gurung, Alexander McQueen, Cecilie Bahnsen, and Jason Wu have all embraced this controversial trend, signalling its ascent. Erdem’s Spring Summer 2024 collection, in particular, showcased a romantic theme with delicate mesh peplums and floral details.

ERDEM Spring Summer 2024
Erdem Spring Summer 2024.

Peplum shapes have also been having a moment on the red carpets. Emma Stone accepted her Oscar for Best Actress for Poor Things recently, at the Academy Awards 2024, in a refreshing mint green Louis Vuitton gown with a peplum feature.

Other noteworthy moments include Deepika Padukone in a red Louis Vuitton gown as well at Cannes 2022, and Sydney Sweeney’s vintage-yet-fresh Mugler dress that she wore at an awards show in 2022.


Deepika Padukone in Louis Vuitton
Deepika Padukone at Cannes 2022 in a Louis Vuitton gown.

History of the peplum

Peplums have had a long journey through fashion history. The term peplum hails from the Greek word peplos, referring to a tunic worn by Ancient Greeks. It wrapped around the body, cinched at the waist, and flared out at the hips. During the Renaissance, early peplum-like features appeared in both men’s doublets and women’s gowns, before gaining popularity among women in the 19th century.

Some of the early iterations can be traced back to when peplum detailing was attached to an overskirt sewn onto the waist and pointed. It wasn’t until the 1930s and 1940s that the modern version became popular, with jackets being fitted at the waist and extending beyond the hips as an overskirt. Peplums saw a revival post-World War II, with Christian Dior’s New Look, which transformed the fashion scene. Soon after, peplum became attached to everything from dresses to tops and power suits. They became everyday wear, especially in the iconic 1980s power suits.

Dior history
Dior’s New Look.

The Peplum of the 2010s

When you think of peplum in 2010, you imagine tank tops featuring a heavy layer of stretchy cotton fabric. From New York to Paris, it was during this period that fashion houses such as Christian Dior, Chanel, and Balenciaga embraced the peplum trend with their distinctive aesthetic sensibilities. Whether on sleek pencil skirts or ball gowns, the peplum added a touch of sophistication and glamour to every ensemble it graced.

Sarah Burton’s Spring-Summer 2012 collection for Alexander McQueen, in particular, showcased dramatic peplum accents across a range of garments, from structured blazers to ethereal evening gowns. Her innovative use of the peplum breathed new life into the trend.

Alexander McQueen SS 2012
Alexander McQueen Spring Summer 2012.


Described as a flared, gathered, or pleated fabric accentuating the waist of a garment, the peplum trend became increasingly popular during the early 2010s. Lanvin’s Spring 2010 collection featured ruffled cocktail dresses boasting exaggerated peplums, while Jil Sander’s Spring 2011 showcase presented vibrant ensembles incorporating peplums on tees and floor-length skirts.

As the trend gained momentum on the runway, it quickly found its way into the wardrobes of celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Rihanna, and Nicole Kidman. They donned elaborate peplum designs on the red carpet, creating an atmosphere of competition to see who could flaunt the most extravagant and daring interpretation of the style.

Jil Sander Spring Summer 2011
Jil Sander Spring Summer 2011.

The new-age peplum

Today, designers have risen to the challenge of refreshing this dated design by making a few key updates. Rejecting rigid fabrics, this season’s peplum tops are largely composed of softer, more comfortable materials including satin, cotton and linen, meaning that the peplum feature retains a naturally softer shape and more elegant finish.

Nicole Kidman in an Armani Prive gown at Oscars 2022
Nicole Kidman in an Armani Prive gown at Oscars 2022.

As the fashion world of 2024 embraces the resurgence of 1980s glamour, peplum tops can be styled for an evening look that is understated, sleek, and flattering. These new peplums feel less over-the-top than the first iterations. They have a more subtle flare versus those of the 2010s. On the spring runways, labels such as Givenchy, Dior, and Prabal Gurung have all shown new styles, making them feel a little more modern and less romantic or flowy.

Prabal Gurung Spring Summer 2024
Prabal Gurung Spring Summer 2024.

Today, the peplum continues to evolve, adapting to the ever-changing tastes of contemporary consumers. Its versatility makes it a timeless addition to any wardrobe, capable of elevating both casual and formal ensembles. Designers continue to experiment with new iterations of the peplum, incorporating it into minimalist designs, athleisure-inspired ensembles, and even menswear collections. All in all, the peplum stands as a timeless classic, poised to enchant future generations with its undeniable charm.