When I think of pleats, I think of Issey Miyake, and his famous Pleats Please collections, (or my school skirts with their box pleats – insert disgusted face emoji here for the latter). And now, pleats are in various high street stores, in a very Miyake-esque version called “plissé. Wikipedia tells me that “plissé pleats are narrow pleats set by gathering fabric with stitches, wetting the fabric, and "setting" the pleats by allowing the wet fabric to dry under weight or tension”. This seems like an incredibly labour intensive way to produce the volume of clothing I’ve seen in this finish, but I suppose it’s possible to have industrialised this process.
The beauty of plissé pleats is that they make your clothes super comfy while keeping a close fit, because they’re stretchy due to the pleats (perfect for tops in this fabric). That’s the same reason you get some nice bouncy movement when you move around in them – I’d quite like to wear something made with horizontal plissé pleats, so I could feel like I was cocooned in a large fabric slinky.
Usually I like to experiment with fashion trends pretty early on, and be selective about what I adopt, but in this case I had to wait it out a little bit because the plissé items I’d seen weren’t very Me. I’m always interested in the genesis of a trend, so I did a bit of an online hunt. Turns out, while plissé pleats have been around a long time via Miyake, but there was definitely an element of them on the Céline runway back in October 2015. It seems this took a little longer to trickle down to New Zealand, and judging by how few women I’ve seen actually wearing this trend, it’s either viewed as Not Safe For Work or not particularly wearable at all. However, I was keen to try out the pleats, which I think are very effective and add a good texture to ordinary items.
It’s interesting that a trend that I can find on Céline’s runway – very sophisticated clothing – should have now become so disco, with metallics and bright colours abounding. Usually I love a bit of bright metallic colour in my wardrobe, but this time I was after something a little more muted. Eventually I happened across this skirt at Dotti (having been lured in by this top) and finally felt I’d found an example of plissé pleats that worked for me.
The colours, the use of a block down the centre, and double split all combined to make this feel like a more sophisticated option than the sheeny metallic options I’d seen elsewhere, and because I’m a sucker for punishment, I’m looking forward to wearing this in autumn with knee high boots and an oversized camel coloured sweater I bought from Topman, tucked in at the front like I’m the super nonchalant French editrix I sometimes imagine I could be. In this post I’m wearing it with a light merino, because that’s how summer goes in Wellington sometimes, but it will also look fab in a more summery rendition paired with a super basic tshirt in those maroon and tobacco-y colours and a pair of high platform tan sandals.
I think that this works so well because it uses so many vertical elements. Imagine, if you can, the same skirt with horizontal stripes instead of a vertical panel – I’m not sure you would get the same cohesion in the skirt as you have here. The only design flaw I’ve identified so far is that a double split plus a windy city means holding your skirt down firmly as it valiantly attempts to become a cape behind you – not a great look on your way to the welcome lunch for your newest staff member! That aside, this skirt has been a great representative of its trendy family, and proven that plissé pleats are a wearable trend.