Peter Som’s sketch for his display at Audemars Piguet.

NEW YORK — Peter Som has scored some prime real estate on Manhattan’s 57th Street — if only for a week.<BR><BR>Thanks to Audemars Piguet, the designer’s dresses are on display in the luxury watchmaker’s store including...

NEW YORK — Peter Som has scored some prime real estate on Manhattan’s 57th Street — if only for a week.

Thanks to Audemars Piguet, the designer’s dresses are on display in the luxury watchmaker’s store including its windows at 40 East 57th Street. Tonight the fresh-faced designer will show off his easy-breezy dresses at a Vogue-sponsored fashion show and cocktail party. The magazine helped Audemars Piguet pluck Som for the occasion.

In addition to the 57th Street store windows, Som has set up vignettes in the three-tiered space. The beach and Cecil Beaton’s surrealistic photographs provided the inspiration for his spring collection, and both factors — however diverse — can be seen in Audemars Piguet.

“A California boy at heart” and Fire Island weekender, Som said these days his schedule doesn’t allow for much lounging around. But that didn’t stop him from mixing driftwood into his displays to play up the beachy theme.

Beyond the huge, frosted-colored wave painted across the front window and Som’s seafoam-colored dresses, there are subtler touches such as a watch posed to look like a person jumping off a diving board.

“They pretty much gave me full run of the store,” he said. “The space is clean but for a week, it’s my playground.”

Alice Riese Rolley, director of marketing for Audemars Piguet, said, “Peter Som was the perfect fit for our brand. His clothes are very classical, elegant and luxurious.”

The alliance is also an extension of the luxury brand’s yearlong celebration of “women of the world,” which has included the introduction of three watch collections for women.

Audemars Piguet’s store employees will not be taking special orders for Som’s dresses, but they will direct interested shoppers to stores that will carry the spring collection in February.

Both parties have similar customers but Som hopes their new alliance will introduce some women to his name. “It’s a great thing to do to get your product out there and to show what you’re all about. These days it’s all about partnering with other companies.”

Rolley agreed, noting the company staged a similar event with Luca Orlandi, the designer behind Luca Luca in May. “We will go on supporting young designers. We will see how it goes with Peter. Usually when we build these relationships, it’s for a long time.”

This story first appeared in the October 19, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

— Rosemary Feitelberg