Saturday, February 9, 2008

Jamee reviews Peter Som and Shopping in Palm Beach

By Jamee Gregory

Arriving in the big tent for Bill Blass’ show, my expectations were high. It would be hard to top Naeem Khan’s amazing 11:00 presentation with gorgeous evening gowns and shimmering cocktail dresses. Could young Peter Som channel the great American master of fashion and still be true to himself? Would he capture the zippy urban-chic dynamic, the covered-up but sexy, snappy Blass style?

Since Som had worked for Bill and currently designs his own terrific line, the odds were good. A lot was riding on his shoulders. As the seats filled, I found myself seated next to Som’s charming parents. “Have you seen the collection?” I asked. “Oh no, his father replied. He has been so busy that it will be a surprise for us, as well.”

We were all in the dark together. Mrs. Som had her camera poised.

As the workers began to pull the covering off the runway and the lights dimmed, one could feel hundreds of expectant eyes turning. As soon as the music started and the first crisp black and white group marched before me, I knew it was a hit. The adorable white blouses with black bows and high collars were both Peter and Bill at their best. The crisp bird’s eye wool alpaca coat and long elegant blazer instantly reflected Blass’ love of beautiful men’s’ wear fabrics.

The sharply sculpted grain de poudre pants, the beautifully tailored tuxedo, the shimmering jacquard dress with a full skirt were perfection. The tailored shapes were chic and classic. Vests of emerald fox were luxurious and youthful. A topaz-blue ostrich feather top over an ombre emerald satin gazar pleated skirt was typical of the unique combinations that gave Som’s designs an edge.

Suddenly I felt gripped by fashion fever! This collection was a home run! My blood was running faster, my passion had kicked into over-drive. The Tiffany blue pen in my hand was circling number after number. My poor husband, Peter, was in trouble.

I wanted the horizontal-striped cocktail dress covered in soft, shimmering paillettes, the grey flannel full skirt with silver stripes, the divine olive strapless with multi-colored paillettes, the adorable amethyst and black curled ostrich dress that danced with each step taken by its model, and most of all the divine, diaphanous white embroidered ostrich gown that also moved with each breath taken by the slender mannequin as she made her way along the runway. The latter was so lovely that one would have to chair a dance or give an extravagant party just to do the gown justice.

The audience was on its feet, clapping loudly. I wanted to rush back and congratulate Peter. Waiting on line with Tinsley Mortimer, Peter’s great friend and muse, we both agreed that the collection was terrific. She lusted after the beautiful backless white ruffled top, with its high collar and face-flattering ruffled cascade that looked fresh and sensual over black trousers, skirts, and as a dress with a criss-crossed back.

Bergdorf’s elegant Linda Fargo, Hilary Geary Ross and Mary Alice Stephenson were all admiring. Som succeeded in appealing to a wide variety of ladies.

I think BB himself would be pleased with the direction taken by this dashing young designer. I’d like to send out the word to all of Blass’ ladies: Rush to Saks and Bergdorf’s the minute these clothes hit the sales floor! Peter Som’s parents can relax. Their son is a super star!

Couldn’t wait to board my Jet Blue flight to Palm Beach! Nothing beats leaving frigid New York and landing in sunny Florida in time for lunch on the loggia of Hilary and Wilbur Ross's beautiful home. Being model houseguests, my husband and I head off to Worth Avenue, leaving our hosts to a little private time before the weekend festivities began.
Pampered pooches enjoy the view down one of Palm Beach's famous vias where sculpture dots the fountain-filled courtyard.
What’s new and exciting this season? Our first stop is the adorable Juicy Couture, where peppermint pink walls and mirrors liven up the large space. A group of navy and white track suits and tees with red glitter would perk up any aerobic walk. Glittering cases highlight hand bags and shoes in engaging pastels. The shop sparkles. Sofas and chairs are occupied by husbands who wait patiently as wives twirl before them. Pastel workout pants and long-sleeved tops vie for space with Juicy’s adorable day wear. Mini skirts, dresses and cardigans all look like fun, perfect for life in a relaxed, warm climate. Shoppers include everyone from grandmothers to teens. This is the perfect spot for Juicy lovers, including me. I’m addicted to spending afternoons lounging in my terry Juicy track suit and even confess to wearing a navy one on the red eye to L.A.!
I pause before Juicy Couture's window display. The trendy company has moved beyond track suits!; The large cheerful space displays a wide assortment of accessories, many in pink.
Next stop, Christopher Kaufman’s brand new jewelry shop, an offshoot of his father’s wildly successful store, where one- of-- kind, special pieces are offered. Gorgeous pink apple blossoms in tall crystal vases competed with the jewels for attention. Vitrines full of extravagant earrings featuring diamonds and turquoise tempt, along with pearl necklaces and pendants on ropes. The shop was a breath of spring!
Clockwise from top left: Ropes of beads and pearls fill Trianon's windows; Chris Kaufman's blossom-filled vases and modern interiors are impossible to ignore; Pearls in all their glory, grey, pink, alabaster, in ropes, chokers, bracelets and earrings tempt shoppers; Seaman Schepps' timeless designs pull shoppers inside, even on the sunniest days!
Pausing by the beautiful vias, where Bougainvillea beguiles, we head for Thomas Maier’s new outpost, a branch of his trendy Miami store. This shop is so chic and well-edited. Whether one searches for the perfect house gift, a candle, a cashmere throw with fringe, a well-chosen coffee table book, or the perfect bag, you’ll not be disappointed here. Unusual treasures, including Maier’s sexy bikinis and beach bags will grab your attention. Embroidered tops in multicolored linen with exquisite beading in lovely combinations like coral on white, blue on beige, will make your mouth water. The shop, in the former home of Verdura, makes climbing the stairs worthwhile if you seek the unique!
Clockwise from top left: Lilia Lopez chic new boutique where elegant costume jewels and hand hanbags appeal to sophiticated shoppers in search of something new; A view of the via where Thomas Maier has set up shop; My husband, Peter, pauses in front of Jennifer Miller's engaging new boutique. Her terrific taste make this inviting, well-stocked boutique a must see!; Maier's arresting array of handbags icludes bags of buttons and beads. His tunics are unique, beaded in contrasting colors, just the thing to go over the well-fitting bikinis!; Worth Avenue is full of Rolls, Bentleys and Mercedes, but none were as arresting as this green mini delivery car from Victor's Cafe, a vehicle worthy of its colorful neighborhood!; Palm Beach's famous palm trees create a special setting for pedestrians.
Don’t miss Jennifer Miller’s adorable boutique. Her eye for jewelry is tops. Elegant costume pieces, perfect for traveling, always appeal. Whether it’s large hoops on clips or enamel chains you’ll always find something chic here. Check out her rings in many colors like coral and white with inset stones. Nothing looks better with pants and a suntan!

Our attention is caught by an adorable little green car offering delivery from Victor’s pizza. Only in Palm Beach would one find this new twist on a van parked next to the more familiar yellow Rolls Royce and a silver Bentley. Shopping on Worth Avenue is never a bore.