O's Real World Style Awards
The fashion stars on these pages represent a new generation with a new attitude—for them, there's no conflict between uncompromising style and wearability.
Women in Peter Som
Peter Som
"A woman isn't a paper doll to me. I want to make clothes for her life," says this San Francisco–born designer, the son of architects (it shows in his strong, pure lines). "Reality is just as fabulous as fantasy. Fashion needs aesthetic excitement and practicality." His seven-year-old label is a fresh, pretty take on ladylike—feminine but never frilly.

Why You'll Like His Look

He has body intelligence "I ask myself, 'Can she wear a bra under this? Is she happy in sleeveless? If there are buttons down the back, who will do them up for her?" Som says. He also makes sure that his clothes don't look good just on small, thin people.

There's not too much skin "He creates unexpected, asymmetrical silhouettes rather than doing conventional sexiness or bareness," says Lorna Simpson, which means you can wear his clothes everywhere.

It's ageless "My mom, who's in her late 50s, loves his designs," says twenty-something Hallie Chrisman. "His own mother wears the collection as well."

It's versatile "I design a dress with a jacket you can wear to work and then take off when you go out," Som says. "I love to blur the boundary between day and night."

His lush fabric mix Everyone revels in his pleated chiffon, cotton piqué, seersucker, washed leather, silvery lace, unusual prints.