For Peter Do, designing clothes is like making pho

This story originally appeared in i-D’s Out Of The Blue publish, no. 366, Winter 2021. Order your copy here.

It was in 2017, in what now looks like old times, that Peter Do (pronounced “paste”) first pitched the idea of ​​creating a brand to a small group of friends he had met on the Internet, via Tumblr and Instagram. . An, Jessica, Vincent, Lydia and Peter – the five founders of the New York-based brand – gathered IRL to discuss the details of the runway imagery and their day-to-day fashion jobs (as well as their frustrations with them. ), around a glass of wine and late-night dinners. What would their fashion house look like? Lunch would be taken together, to begin with. And the clothes – clothes that are really well made, interesting to look at and easy to wear – would be the star of the show.

Precious is wearing a PETER DO SS22 coat. SUNSPEL t-shirt and briefs. Stylist studio neck warmer (worn everywhere). Boots (worn everywhere) LEWIS LEATHERS

It sounds like a no-brainer, and it was. Four years later, Peter Do has captured the attention of the fashion industry, from social media influencers to blue-chip luxury retailers. He has become one of the most celebrated and confident voices in the fashion landscape, even though the brand has just put on its first show, aptly titled Home. The pandemic is to blame for that, of course, but the delay has been a blessing in disguise. There’s nothing quite like the anticipation of a fashion week debut, especially when you know it’s gonna be really, really good.

The mannequin sits on the floor next to a mirror, a lamp and a book, wearing a white shirt and black boots.


This sense of occasion has not escaped Peter, who until now has managed to sidestep the cult fashion figure and let his work speak for itself. Women love her clothes, but the fashion industry loves a storyline well wrapped up in a show. “There were a lot of things I wanted to say, but I just couldn’t get my head out of my head,” said Peter a few weeks later, after the adrenaline rush of his first run on the podium had simmered. “I think that’s what we wanted the Peter Do collection to be. I wanted to reduce it to the very essence of who we are, almost like one could reduce a broth.

Model wears a black trench coat and black leather boots.

Coat and pants PETER DO SS22.

As Peter Do explained in a handwritten note, placed on every seat in his show, the show was like traditional Vietnamese pho. The ingredients are relatively few in number – his late father’s pho included beef, pork bones, spices, dried shrimp, and rock sugar. Although simple, it takes “years of trial and error” with the most crucial ingredient of all being a dollop of patience and love. All good pho, explains Peter, is born out of hours of reduction and editing, of reducing everything until all that is left is a perfect, clear essence. It can’t be rushed with shortcuts, and there’s no hiding from the taste test. It’s the perfect analogy for the bizarre luxury fashion climate in times of a pandemic.

The model wears a white waistcoat, white briefs and a white coat.

Coat PETER DO SS22. SUNSPEL t-shirt and briefs.

Turns out it was possibly the best New York Fashion Week show this season, and a number for the city’s changing designer guard. Partly inspired by the concise wardrobe of her hard-working grandmothers and aunts – who often wore tunics over slacks for work and play, because “there was no real luxury in dressing. to express himself “- and in part in the service of” satisfying the needs of women with function and practicality, “Peter revisits his early collections; stripping the silhouettes with obsessive, self-critical attention to detail.” It has to look like something that can last all day without weighing you down, “he points out.” Something we haven’t discussed, after the past four years, is that there is strength in being vulnerable There is strength in meekness.

“We came back to where we started when we had no clients, no press, no money. It was just us in an empty room doing things we love. It all started from there.

Lightness too: here are some silk mesh riffs on traditional Vietnamese áo dài – long open tunics worn over generously cut pants – and vaporous silk shirts with floral patterns in watercolor; sensual, cut-out knits you could sink into and flowing satin trench coats. Additionally, there were feather-light, chiffon versions of the four-piece suit that Peter made his name with four years ago. The embroidery referred to a snapshot of her mother and father in which her mother is holding a rose. Set outdoors against a blue sky and with the Manhattan skyline in the background, the models looked like women walking elegantly towards their desks and schoolyards, perfectly decked out for the spectacle of life. daily.

The model is wearing white pants with her arms covering her chest.

PETER DO SS22 pants.

It was an incredibly personal collection, an ode to Asian moms and their resilience. This was relevant not only because – but certainly in light – of spikes in hate crimes against Asian Americans across the United States during the pandemic. Something not lost on Peter and his all-Asian team, who bowed together. Remember that the label ‘Peter Do’ is a collective, not an ivory tower.

“There were a lot of emotions, because my grandmother just passed away that week from Covid, and I was thinking about my dad who couldn’t be there at the show,” says Peter. A look back at his previous collections tapped into this nostalgia. “We rethought where we started, how we thought about things before worrying about sales when we had no customers, no press, no money,” he recalls. “It was just us, an empty room, doing things we love. It all started from there.

Portrait of model's face wearing a black cuff bracelet.

ELSA PERETTI® Bone cuff in black, left wrist TIFFANY & CO.

Raised by his grandmother on farmland an hour from Ho Chi Minh City, Peter moved to the Philadelphia suburbs for high school – and hated it, he says. But that’s where her mom bought a $ 20 sewing machine from K Mart and started teaching her how to thread a bobbin and zipper to the fabric on the kitchen table. Suddenly he had something to retreat into. “That was before I knew fashion with a capital F,” he says with a smile.

Model lying on a sofa in a derelict room wearing a waistcoat and black boots.

PETER DO SS22 vest.

Within a few years he traveled to New York to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and in his senior year he won the LVMH Graduate Prize and an internship with one of the conglomerate’s fashion brands that he wished. He naturally chose Celine, where he eventually landed a job with Phoebe Philo, which also ushered in a hyper-focused view of women’s fashion and stripped down at the turn of the last recession.

The model stands in a brick room wearing a black trench coat and black boots.


It’s come a long way since the days of working anonymously in Celine’s studio, but despite the dizzying heights of Peter’s success, Peter’s heart remains this teenager obsessed with stitching and merging linings. It makes sense that, thinking of his first runway show, he and his team revisited catwalk classics like Tom Ford at Gucci, Helmut Lang and Alexander McQueen (SS10 Atlantis by Plato is his favorite). After the show, just like true fashion nerds, they found themselves eagerly awaiting detailed close-ups of the collection, the kind he once browsed blogs during fashion weeks.

The model is standing against a brick wall wearing a black coat, black shorts and black boots.

All PETER DO SS22 clothing

“I thought it was really cool that we are now in the same place where the clothes we made are now on inspirational blogs, and could inspire a whole new generation of people and students who, you know , are like the end of the night We were tumblrers, ”he laughs. And it shows that despite the very old-school understatement of his designs, Peter and his team are ultimately building a new kind of house for true sartorial experimentation – the kind that resonates with digitally hip fashion fans just like them. “I hope that there are children who see this, and that they meet their four or five friends and also launch their own brand,” he adds. To bring it back to food, as with any dinner, the more tables with more seats, the better.

Peter Do wears a black hoodie, black cap and black face mask with diamond jewelry on it.

Peter wears a LOS ANGELES APPAREL hoodie. Hat and bandana stylist workshop. Schlumberger® Apollo Diamond Earring Clip in Platinum & 18k Gold TIFFANY & CO.


With thanks to Tiffany & Co.

Peter Do mode function

Photography Rory van Millingen
Fashion Louis Pray Tisdall

Hair Amidat Giwa at Bryant Artists using ORIBE
Make-up Mel Arter at Julian Watson Agency with Armani Beauty
Photo assistance Wynston Shannon, Felix Turnbull-Walter and Andrew Moores
Casting director Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING
Casting assistance Chaouib Arif
Precious Kevin model at Titanium Management

All Peter Do clothing SS22. All jewelry worn at Tiffany & Co.

Portrait of Pierre Do

Photography Mario Sorrenti
Fashion Alastair McKimm

Bob Hair Recine
Kanako Takase make-up at Streeters with Addiction Beauty
Photo assistance Kotaro Kawashima and Javier Villegas
Digital operator Chad Meyer
Fashion Aid Madison Matusich, Milton Dixon III and Casey Conrad
Tailor Joël Gomez
Kazuhide Katahira hair aid
Kuma makeup aid
Production Katie Fash, Layla Néméjanski and Steve Sutton
Production assistance William Cipos
Casting director Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING

All jewelry worn at Tiffany & Co.

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