02/10/2012 03:19 EST | Updated 04/11/2012 05:12 EDT

With pared-down and covered-up styles, Peter Som creates modern allure

NEW YORK, N.Y. - You want to leave your audience wanting more, and that's what Peter Som did with the fall collection he turned out Friday that had below-the-knee hemlines, covered sleeves and wrap-style coats.

It felt very modern and sexy — never dowdy — thanks to Som's creative use of sheer fabrics, especially a glossy organza that topped pencil skirts and slim sheaths. He showed awareness of a woman's body while never clinging to it. He used architectural shapes and clean lines to draw attention to the waist and a woman's curves, but that added layer — whether it was the organza or a peplum — gave her a little freedom.

"Masculine and feminine, hard and soft, textured and smooth," he described in his notes at the show held at Milk Studios, New York Fashion Week's main rival location to the Lincoln Center tents. It provides for a more artsy, intimate presentation.

Som said he found inspiration in Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn. "I wanted to convey a sense of strength and beauty."

"To me, they are about really covered-up sexiness, covered-up glamour," said Catherine Moellering, executive vice-president of The Tobe Report, a trend-tracking service. "I'm happy to see it."

Luxury has become a signature of Som, but this season he did it more with soft leathers, cosy cashmere and silk instead of exotic furs and feathers. There were a few fox coats that were coloured as if they were lipstick graffiti.

Otherwise, though, the palette was very uptown: winter white, camel, emerald green and plum.