Ah pleats… I’ve always liked them and I think I always will. They remind me of childhood, in a good way (while overalls and backpacks, for example, reminds me of childhood in a bad way). But, most of all, I like pleats because they immediately add femininity and grace to every garment.
Pleats are among the most ancient fashion trends ever existed.
Just think that ancient Egyptians (probably the most stylish ancient civilization) and Greeks used to wear pleated garments, though pleating was incredibly demanding. Elaborate fabrics and clothes have always been a symbol of wealth and pleated garments were considered luxury items.
A post about pleats in history would have been too long and maybe a bit boring so I decided to stick to what we consider fashion and not history.
In XIX century, three designers left their mark in fashion thanks to their innovative pleating techniques.
Mariano Fortuny, one of my favorite artists, devised an innovative (and carefully guarded) method to pleat silk to create his famous Delphos gowns (it was 1907). Inspired by the chiton, a tunic worn in ancient Greece, Delphos were very popular among celebrities. Lilian Gish, Natacha Rambova, Sarah Bernhardt, Isadora Duncan were among Fortuny’s regular customers.
You may not know about this great artist, but his work is still a great source of inspiration. Just to make an example, Fortuny’s designs inspired Valentino Spring 2016 couture collection.
In the 1950s, Irish designer Sybil Connolly teamed up with Irish manifacturer Spence-Bryson to develop a method to pleat linen. The designer wanted to promote Irish heritage and skills so she used a lot of linen, lace and tweed. Connolly’s collections, characterized by horizontal plissé (while it’s usually vertical) were very appreciated in US and Canada. Jacqueline Kennedy chose a Connolly creation to pose for an official portrait painted by Aaron Shikler. In 2012, Gillian Anderson wore a vintage Connolly to attend the Bafta Awards.
In 1993, after years of experimenting, Issey Miyake launched Pleats Please collection. Using polyester instead of natural fibers, Miyake created a line of clothes easy to wear, to take care of (washable, quick drying, noniron), to travel with and to store. Basically, the dream of every woman.
There’re many types of pleats among which: inverted, knife, box, accordian, kick.
While some finds them unflattering, widening (they’re, actually) and aging, fashion insiders love them, also because they’re very photogenic. A pleated fluttering midi or maxi skirt is a good starting point to create a catchy outfit.
Of course pleated skirts are not the only way you can wear pleats. Look at these gaiters! They’re not minimalistic at all but hey, once in a while even a person who believes in “less is more” (me!) can make an exception 😉
These are 20 beautiful pleated garments I found and chose for you.
The preview image is via Ketch’em Bunnies