In a long-awaited return to the runway, Peter Dundas makes an elegant salute to the Norwegian naval links throughout his family tree
Yesterday evening, for his first show in four years, Peter Dundas rolled out the red carpet – literally – at Paris’ decadent Opéra Garnier. “Paris has always been my favourite place do shows. It’s the city where I lived the longest out of my adult life,” says Dundas. “It made sense to come back to Paris.”
Befitting the setting, this season found a “more elegant version of the Dundas girl”. “I really wanted to do something that felt a little more sensual rather than sexy,” Dundas says. The starting point was those floor-sweeping statement coats, sturdy and elegant, their naval details – the gold buttons, the broad lapels – a nod to his Norwegian heritage. “I’m a new father this year,” says Dundas, who recently welcomed daughter and a son the year before. “And I’ve been looking at family photos.” Specifically, he’s been looking at the uniforms. His father was an officer in the navy, his uncle a captain and his aunt worked aboard ships as well. He describes the collection as “a love letter to my family”. Naval details pop up via sailor trousers in buttery suede, understated epaulettes and even a Dundas take on a captain’s hat. “It’s a little bit of a homecoming of sorts,” he says.
This, however, is still a Dundas show and, as the designer puts it, “I don’t think a leopard changes its spots very easily”. There remains a certain emphasis on the female body. However, in lieu of the slinky, clingy frocks of season’s past, Dundas opts for sheer gowns, some ornately beaded, others with spiderweb crochet on the bodice (“My grandmother was an avid knitter”), that float around the form. Chunky half-zip knitwear is another Scandi touch, cleverly layered over romantic skirts. As Dundas says, “there’s definitely a Nordic feeling to the collection”.