THE STORY BEHIND IT
Art-deco jewellery, bootleggers, freshly cut bobs, feather hairpieces and pleats beyond pleats. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great American novel The Great Gatsby takes place in the most decadent of times and is set in the most glamorous of places. But there’s more than the modern classic’s story and setting that’s enchanting – the fashion is too. The Gatsby men in tuxedos and tailcoats and the women in extravagant sequin-, lace- and pleated (or plissé if you want) skirts and dresses have inspired millions.
It was during The Roaring Twenties and the age of the flapper that the item reached its first fashion high point. But pleating as a technique had been in use for millennia (remember Vikings and Scottish men in kilts?). It was a practical way to make firm fabrics more ductile, but it wasn’t a part of fashion history before this point in time.
When the decadent decade came to an end and the depressive 30s and 40s took hold, pleated skirts disappeared from the modern woman’s wardrobes for a long time, and instead they became branded as clothing for grandmothers, girl scouts, librarians and even nerds.
Luckily, all four are getting the restitution they deserve in our time. Much of that is thanks to one iconic Italian label appointing a new creative director. When Alessandro Michele took the helm at Gucci last year he made the nerd, with her big glasses and bow-tied blouses, cool once more and brought the pleated skirt to the runway in a big way.
Now, whether it’s a short plaid pleat, a long wispy metallic model or a retro-inspired velvet one, it’s safe to say that it’s not going anywhere for a while.
Celebrate the pleat and shop our curated selection in the list below!