The Pleat Trend Goes Big for Spring
Witnessing the emergence of a trend as you journey through four weeks of fashion shows is a bit like living inside Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds.' (Minus the terror, though not without an icy blonde or two.) Hmm, that's interesting. Oh, there's another. And oh. Another. Hang on a second, they're all over!
So it went this season with pleats -- on skirts, dresses and occasionally elsewhere -- which slowly gathered to form one of the widest-reaching trends. There were foil-printed beauties, like the one seen on the model above, at Proenza Schouler. Michael Kors used sharp folds to channel 1970s slink: Playing the part of Lauren Hutton was model Hilary Rhoda, striding confidently in a sexy dotted navy tie-neck blouse and matching knife-pleated skirt with twin front slits. You could almost smell the Virginia Slims. Pleats came minimalist and military-inflected at Salvatore Ferragamo. They were cupcake-wrapper shiny at Rochas and intricately embroidered with a rainbow of sequins on stunning ankle-length halter gowns at Givenchy.
Despite their longstanding association with schoolgirl innocence, pleats can be provocative. Not every fashion lover welcomes them with open arms. 'I think that pleats are deeply unflattering,' said Beth Buccini, co-founder of New York boutique Kirna Zabete. That makes them challenging from a designer's point of view. 'You have to be really clever to pull off pleats,' said co-founder Sarah Easley. 'Pleats are advanced.'
By their estimation, Celine creative director Phoebe Philo has more than enough sartorial I.Q. to work with the style. The designer has used pleats frequently in past collections, but for spring, she included them in nearly every look. Ms. Philo skirted the issue many have with pleats -- namely, that they can add bulk to the hips -- by working in airy sheer silks. When paired with long tunic-like tops that fit snugly over the hips, Ms. Philo's skirts were nowhere near bulky. They fluttered, and flattered.
Another winning solution to the pleat puzzle is simply taking a new angle. Christian Dior creative director Raf Simons did that quite literally in skirts that set pleats askew, so that they radiated out from the left hip, curving around the body and ending in a swishing fishtail behind the knees. Mr. Simons's innovative -- and complex -- pleat play included a pair of wrap-skirt-like shorts made of sharp and skinny knife pleats that were pieced with a panel of black silk. He also inset flippy floral-print pleats into the back waist of an otherwise all-business tailored black jacket, for those looking for a way to make an exciting exit.
Even with more traditional vertical pleats, there's opportunity for newness. Certainly no schoolgirl has worn rose-gold- or silver-foil-printed silk pleated skirts like those made by Proenza Schouler's designers, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez. The skirts were inspired by handicrafts used in '70s interiors -- which included various treatments of chrome, copper and nickel. The duo went through a long process to perfect the effect. 'We tried it in 10 different matte foils and 10 different super-shiny foils and then five different metallics,' said Mr. McCollough. They also tested various pleat widths and fabrics types. 'It takes a lot of trial and error to get to a place where you're really happy with it.'
Some innovations are less visible. In his well-received '70s-sportswear-inspired collection, Michael Kors blended a touch of nylon into silk georgette in order to create a crisp and more long-lasting pleat. 'A touch of polyester mixed with natural fibers makes a huge difference,' he explained. 'You want the lightness, but you don't want to get stuck in a rainstorm in a pleated chiffon dress. The next thing you know, you're paying $600 to get it re-pleated.' Mr. Kors is a staunch pleat advocate. 'It's something that's feminine and romantic and catches the breeze,' he said. 'Obviously if you go the wrong way, you could end up in a full Britney [Spears schoolgirl] moment. But I think we're always drawn to clothes that move when we walk. They're sexy in a subtle way.'
With pleated skirts and dresses, hem length is important to get right. 'Shorter is okay when you're young and have Bambi legs. But you have to be careful,' said Paula Reed, creative director of retail website Mytheresa, which will be selling pleated pieces by Proenza Schouler, Christopher Kane and Victoria Beckham. Ms. Reed believes in the pleat's power to flatter -- when it's done right. 'Hovering on or just below the knee has that beautiful kind of Gatsby sophistication,' she said. 'A pleat will hide a multitude of sins. If you get one that's fluid, it kind of skims over and creates an ideal silhouette.' <纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com/>
That delicate floatiness, however, needs a grounded base. Mr. Kors advised steering clear of mincing kitten-heel sandals in favor of a chunky platform -- like the ones in his show -- or a sharp-toed stiletto. 'You need something that makes it urban,' he said. 'And unless you're 5-foot-10, a little height doesn't hurt.'
For pleat newbies, Kirna Zabete's Ms. Easley suggested Victoria Beckham's short skirts with just a sliver of pleats peeking out from the hem. 'That's one way to minimize the risk,' she said. 'Another is to skip anything printed and go monochromatic with a white pleated skirt, white T-shirt and metallic heels.' She added, 'You could obviously also do all-black. But how sad for spring.'
Keeping Pleats In Line
How to maintain a knife-sharp look
Say No To H2O
Pleats don't react well to water. 'A pleat in a natural fiber, when exposed to any sort of moisture, has the propensity to come out,' said Wayne Edelman, president of Meurice Garment Care dry cleaner in New York. In humid climates or if the forecast is rain, Mr. Edelman advises against wearing pleats made of 100% silk or pleats that are only steamed in and not sewn. The dry rule also extends to cleaning and maintenance. 'No de-wrinkle spray and no steam,' warned Lois Von Morganroth of Brown's Cleaners in Santa Monica, Calif.
Store With Care
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth hundreds of dollars in professional cleaning bills. Neatly hang pleated pieces immediately after taking them off. 'Use a nice skirt hanger or a dress hanger that keeps the pleats in a straight line,' said Ms. Von Morganroth. 'If you don't hang them properly, the pleats will go off-kilter over time.'
Don't Try This at Home . . .
Professional dry cleaning is almost always the best option. Look for a place that has experience with pleats. Meurice, for example, employs a specialist who only handles pleated items. 'She is an artist,' said Mr. Edelman.
. . . But if You Do
Check the care instructions and fabric content. Synthetic fabrics are usually permanently pleated, said Mr. Edelman, making them easier to tend to at home. These pieces can be hand-washed or gently machine-washed and hung up to air dry.
穿梭在四个星期的时装秀上，见证一个潮流的兴起，有点像生活在阿尔弗雷德·希区柯克(Alfred Hitchcock)的电影《群鸟》(The Birds)中。（没有那种恐怖的感觉，不过偶尔也有一两个冷冰冰的金发女郎。）嗯，有意思。噢，那边还有一个。噢，还有一个。等等，到处都是！
你看，这一季开始流行褶皱了——半身裙上，连衣裙上，其他衣服上偶尔也会出现——这些褶皱慢慢聚集起来，形成了影响最广的一股潮流。普罗恩萨·施罗(Proenza Schouler)秀场上有烫金烫银效果的美衣，就像图中模特所穿的这件。迈克尔·科斯(Michael Kors)用挺括的褶皱带出了1970年代的优美线条：扮演劳伦·赫顿(Lauren Hutton)角色的是名模希拉里·洛达(Hilary Rhoda)，她穿着性感的圆点海军蓝领口系带式上衣，搭配正面有两条开口的刀形窄褶短裙，迈着自信的步伐走在T台上。嗯，几乎都可以闻到Virginia Slims香烟的味道了。菲拉格慕(Salvatore Ferragamo)的褶皱是极简主义，并受到军装风格影响。罗莎(Rochas)的褶皱如同纸杯蛋糕的褶边一样闪亮。纪梵希(Givenchy)的褶皱在美艳的及踝露背裙上与五色缤纷的亮片错综复杂地交织在一起。
尽管长久以来都被和女学生的纯真联系在一起，但褶皱也可以很有诱惑力。并非所有时尚达人都张开双臂欢迎褶皱。纽约精品店Kirna Zabete联合创始人贝丝·布奇尼(Beth Buccini)说：“我觉得褶皱很不衬人。”这使得褶皱从设计师的角度来看变得很有挑战性。Kirna Zabete联合创始人莎拉·伊斯利(Sarah Easley)说：“要设计好褶皱得非常聪明才行。褶皱是很高级的元素。”
另外一个解决褶皱难题的好办法是简单地换个角度。迪奥(Christian Dior)创意总监拉夫·西蒙斯(Raf Simons)就把裙子上的褶皱设计成了斜纹，这样褶皱就从左臀辐射开来，勾勒出身体的曲线，最后在膝盖后方形成漂亮的鱼尾。西蒙斯对褶皱所做的创新和复杂的改动包括一条裹裙式的短裤，设计有挺括的刀形窄褶，搭配一块黑色丝绸。他还为一款黑色外套的后腰部嵌入了宽松喇叭式的花朵图案褶皱，很适合那些想要优美转身的人。没有这个设计，这件衣服就只是一件纯商务的合身的外套。
即使是传统的纵向褶皱也有创新的机会。肯定没有女学生穿过普罗恩萨·施罗的设计师杰克·麦科洛(Jack McCollough)和拉扎罗·埃尔南德斯(Lazaro Hernandez)设计的那些玫瑰金烫金或烫银的丝绸褶皱半身裙。这些裙子的灵感来自70年代室内装饰用的手工艺品，包括对铬、铜和镍的各种处理。两位设计师对裙子的效果进行了很长时间的完善。麦科洛说：“我们试了十种不同的哑光金属箔和十种不同的超闪亮金属箔，还有五种不同的金属面料。”他们还尝试了不同的褶皱宽度和面料类型。他说：“经过反复试验才达到我们真正满意的效果。”
对于褶皱半身裙和连衣裙，褶皱长度合适很重要。零售网站Mytheresa创意总监葆拉·瑞德(Paula Reed)说：“如果年纪轻，而且有小鹿斑比(Bambi)那样的腿，褶皱裙子短点是可以的，但要很小心。”该网站将出售普罗恩萨·施罗、克里斯多弗·凯恩(Christopher Kane)和维多利亚·贝克汉姆(Victoria Beckham)设计的褶皱作品。瑞德认为褶皱如果设计得好会很衬人。她说：“落在膝盖上或略低于膝盖会有盖茨比(Gatsby)式的精致优雅。褶皱可以掩盖很多缺陷。如果是流动的褶皱，就会有飘逸的感觉，打造出理想的身形。”
褶皱对水的反应不是很好。纽约Meurice Garment Care连锁干洗店总裁韦恩·埃德尔曼(Wayne Edelman)说：“天然纤维的褶皱碰到任何湿的物质都容易变形。”埃德尔曼建议，如果天气潮湿或者预报有雨，不要穿着100%真丝褶皱的衣服或者褶皱只用蒸汽压制而没有缝制的衣服。干燥规则同样适用于清洗和保养。加州 莫妮卡(Santa Monica)Brown's Cleaners干洗店的洛伊丝·冯·摩根罗斯(Lois Von Morganroth)警告说：“不要喷防皱剂，也不要蒸汽熨烫。”