Pucci’s Peter Dundas Talks Resort Style
by laurie brookins
Pucci’s Peter Dundas at his home.
Designers have a tendency to skip town following the debut of a collection, and who can blame them? Too often, they’re a last-minute frenzy, the climax of endless hours and sleepless nights as the final details of a show come together to culminate with roughly 14 minutes on a runway that can make or break your season’s bottom line. Of course an escape is in order—and for Pucci’s Peter Dundas, the getaway of choice for more than a decade has been Miami.
“It’s definitely my hideaway after the show,” Dundas says. “I find Miami so incredibly carefree and easy to come to, the perfect mix of a place that doesn’t feel high-maintenance and yet you also can have plenty of fun. I would say it’s very dependable for fun.”
Historically Pucci is a brand born out of two ideas: ski and swim. Emilio Pucci was passionate about the former and first garnered attention for the skiwear he designed for a friend—the Florence-born designer initially chose Capri as the home of his fledgling business, and it was on that posh island that his iconic prints, equal parts graphic and brightly toned, began to take shape. In October, Dundas celebrated his fifth anniversary as creative director and is widely credited with infusing a new energy into the label and striking an ideal balance of modernity with subtle nods to the codes of the house, so perhaps there’s also a bit of symmetry found in his love of seaside life. “I am known as a bit of a beach bum,” Dundas says. “I’m very much about winding down—long breakfasts with friends by the pool, or maybe down to Key Largo for a dive. It works really well for turning everything off, especially my iPhone and my BlackBerry, and recharging my batteries.”
Pucci’s Design District location, one of only six freestanding Pucci boutiques in the US.
His Resort collection likewise reflects this notion of relaxed escapism, mixed with the requisite flavors of Pucci glamour, seen in the bold tones of easy dresses you can picture fluttering on Collins Avenue, or all those updated prints, very often done in ocean-inspired blues and greens. “I was definitely thinking about warm summer nights, and Miami is the perfect place for such a collection,” he says. “It’s about feeling great and looking sexy and wearing really easy pieces, and where better to do that than here?” Dundas also favors a grouping of lushly beaded and embroidered skirts and shorts he did for Resort: “For me they were a nice, sexy summer way of proposing an alternative to a dress, almost like a cutoff but more sophisticated because it’s embellished, and it looks great with a T-shirt or a crop top.”
How aligned are Dundas and the label with Miami life? Consider that you’ll find only six freestanding Pucci boutiques in the US, and three of them reside in South Florida: in Palm Beach on Worth Avenue, in Aventura, and the brand’s latest, a 1,728-square-foot location that opened in June in the Design District. “For me, Pucci just had to be there,” Dundas says. “For us as a brand, it’s about being where it’s happening and bringing a new energy amid something that feels fresh and like the next big thing. The Design District encompasses all of that.”
As with other Pucci boutiques—including a New York flagship that debuted last year—Dundas worked with French architect Joseph Dirand on the Design District space. “I didn’t want it to feel heavy; I wanted it to feel light and maybe a little unfinished,” he explains. “There was an idea about creating something that felt like it was in the process of becoming something. Joseph and I really discussed that, how to keep that freshness and not have it feel overcrowded. It’s quite different from all the other Pucci stores and has this almost seaside element to it. That wasn’t consciously thought of, but feels very right for the neighborhood.”
Ultimately Dundas points to the sense of overarching optimism that’s always been central to the brand as the reason it feels right not only for Miami but for himself as well. “Pucci is a sunny brand and a sunny house, even in its mind-set; it’s a happy house that makes you feel good, and Miami women really respond to that,” he says. “And I respond to that as well. This isn’t a brand that’s about plunging into the darkness of your mind, quite the contrary. It’s almost like working with things that are therapeutic and provoke positive emotions. If color puts you in a good mood, then Pucci is the perfect place to work, isn’t it? Every day, I have a smile on my face.” 155 NE 40th St., Miami, 305-576-1830
Get a glimpse behind the scenes at Krysten Ritter's Ocean Drive cover shoot.