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Jun

21

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Flirty, feminine pleats are on a roll, swishing through many of the resort 2018 collections that debuted in May and June.

Valentino, Photo: Gerardo Somoza

Designers have been playing with pleats for a couple years now, and the look has legs.

Valentino, Bottega Veneta, Versus Versace and Prada are some of the major houses that employed pleats in their resort shows, which often herald the full spring collections that will stroll the runways in September.
 

Prada, Photo: Monica Feudi

Prada’s diaphanous pleated skirts and dresses are a fresh, sexy take on pleats. You’ll also see sunburst pleated skirts in all lengths plus dresses with a flattering swath of side pleats.

What’s in store now? Neiman Marcus stocks a number of dresses with pleated skirts by the likes of Milly, La Petite Robe by Chiara Boni, Alice + Olivia and more. Nordstrom has a lovely blue-and-white floral pleated gown by Eliza J, and ZARA and Dillard’s have got kicky pleated skirts in solids and prints.
 

Bottega Veneta, Photo courtesy of Bottega Veneta

Pleats are perhaps the most enduring style in history. They date back around 4,000 years ago to ancient Egypt, where only royalty and the wealthy could afford the high cost of dresses (and man skirts) with hand-set folds.

Pleats have been drifting in and out of fashion ever since.

Spanish designer Mariano Fortuny was the pleat master of the early 20th century, devising a secret way to create tight folds in silk. (The only remaining clue is his patent for heated ceramic rollers.)

Fortuny’s signature “Delphos" pleated column dress was at once sexy and classic, hugging the body while alluding to ancient Greek sculpture. Working in Venice, where he also became famous for gorgeous lamp shades, Fortuny produced and sold variations of the “Delphos” dress for more than 40 years. Now, they’re collectors’ items.
 

Coach, Photo courtesy of Coach

In 1975, American Mary McFadden developed a patented process for pleating polyester, reviving the pleated goddess column for another 20-year run.

Japanese vanguard Issey Miyake is still devising all types of silhouettes for the Pleats Please label he launched in 1993 with a patented pleating process that creates permanent crimps in polyester fabrics despite crumpling or washing.

Undoubtedly, more interpretations of pleats are still to come.

 

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