Designer Peter Som Answers Fan Questions
Peter Som is a designer who values elegance and inner beauty just as much as an amazing outfit and a pair of killer heels. Winning a number of prestigious awards during his 20s, including the CFDA Scholarship Competition and the Parsons Gold Thimble award, Som is definitely a fashion force to be reckoned with. His parents, both architects, taught him the beauty of simplicity and this aesthetic is clearly evident in his sophisticated and clean designs which he describes as “effortless elegance and refined sexiness.”
Som began his post-secondary studies at Connecticut College to study Art History and Studio Art, but moved on to Parsons School of Design to pursue his love for fashion. The designer apprenticed with big names like Michael Kors and Calvin Klein during his years at Parsons and worked at Bill Blass after graduating, eventually holding the position of creative director for the line for one year. He is now focusing on his own line, building an impressive clientele which includes celebrities like Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johnasson. This is the third video interview on the subject of Defining Style in a series presented by Effen Vodka.
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Something simple that anyone can do to improve their living space is lighting. Definitely candlelight is key. Everyone looks great in candlelight. It doesn’t have to be tall, creative, crazy candelabras. It could be just a bunch of pretty little tea lights. Dim the lights a little bit and all your guests and you will look like a super star. I think the classic mantra is always less is more and they say for a woman before you go out look the mirror and take one thing off. So I think it’s the same for home décor. Sometimes less is more. A few beautifully chosen objects are better than a whole bunch of things.
For my creative process, it’s funny I never really think of initially making something stylish. It really comes from just wanting to create something beautiful, and something that will highlight a woman’s beauty and her personality. And then it’s later that when I back up and I think, “Who is this woman? Where is she wearing this? Is she going to go to an event and feel amazing?” And I think that’s really where the style comes in, and again also style is what a woman brings to me. It’s something innate that sometimes can’t be dictated. It has to just sort of be there already.
A lot of celebrities I’ve dressed are actresses. They’re woman that I admire and love their work; anyone from emerging actresses like Zoe Kazan, or Mamie Gummer, or Jennifer Goodwin. It’s really actresses that I feel have a sense of spirit and beauty from the inside about them, and that inspire me. You know, I would love to dress, I’ve already mentioned her, but Cate Blanchett, again a woman that could wear anything and just look elegant and regal. And again, I’m inspired by her talent as well as her amazing elegance.
I really think that the women who are stylish now are women that have a sense of confidence about what they wear and have a sense of fun about it. It’s about never looking like you tried too hard. So I think women like first lady Michelle Obama, Cate Blanchett, women who take chances, have fun with it and just carry themselves with confidence. That’s really what it’s all about. My personal fashion icons are women who have a sense of elegance. I mean, you think back to the classics like Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and even women who never thought they were fashion icons. For me, it’s women like Edie Beale in Grey Gardens, sort of slightly eccentric, interesting women who have their own personal sense of style.