Dressed to Frill


Written by Peyton Haahr

Move out of the way, off-the-shoulder trend, ruffles are back and ready to reclaim the throne. In every shape, size and color, ruffles were back on the Spring & Summer runways. Designers stepped up to the plate to deliver unique and eye-catching pieces that showed a new take on the classic ruffle that has adorned everything from children’s dresses to gaudy handbags. The trend was seen on stunning floor-length dresses at Valentino, in layers at Givenchy and edged up at McQueen.

As mentioned, the ‘less is more’ idea came into play at the Valentino show, headed by creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, as he sent stunningly minimalist dresses down the runway. They pieces that best showed off his masterful work were 3 dresses, one in black, white, and pink. each held their own silhouette and unique use of ruffles, but each very was noticeable among all the looks. The black short dress featured the most interesting ruffles, which lined the deep vee neckline and base of skirt, but was contrasted by the relatively thin bar across the chest that balanced the entire look. While this may be a hard style for most to pull off, the short hair of the model and monochrome look that was finished with the heels made it a win. On the more wearable side, the white shift dress with a ruffle neckline was spectacular as well. Pairing this with your favorite shoes and shiny jewelry (probably go for some earrings), would make this look a wonderful party dress. Be red-carpet ready with the pink ruffled dress, the beautifully structured piece was completed perfectly with the one-shoulder ruffle.

Ruffles abounded in glorious layers at Givenchy. Navy prints were played with and mixed to create bold looks balanced by color blocks of dark navy and black. Two dresses stood out, each exemplifying this masterful mixture of patterns, with ruffles adding to the volume. Mixing intricate and strong patterns can be tough, but when combined in the right way on dresses such as these, the outfit can be that much more stunning. It’s best to pair these complex pieces with solid colors to balance them, like we see here with the dark boots. On the other hand, we see another one-shoulder dress, this one in all navy and with layers of sheer fabrics. A flowy dress that is the essence of movement is paired with solid, structured boots with a little interest on the toe to finish the look. If you go for a flowy look, it’s best to anchor the outfit with something structured or geometric.

This trend was in full force at Alexander McQueen, seen layered under trench coats, in lingerie-esque sheer dresses and adorning crop tops and skirts alike. The edgy style that has been so prevalent in McQueen’s history was evident here, as models walked down the runway in shiny combat boots and had their hair pulled under collar-like necklaces. The show was opened by a few similar looks, with airy, sheer dresses that were finished with layers of ruffles that when combined with tough-girl jewelry and shoes came off very “warrior-princess”. The dresses may be tough to wear, but could be easily finished with a slip underneath. Shorter dresses made an appearance too, featuring ruffles on both the neckline and skirt, giving volume and a unique look. Since ruffles tend to add volume and size, it’s essential to balance the weight, like McQueen did with chunky jewelry and heavy shoes. Make sure you try these tips when putting your outfit together. This runway delivered a masterclass in turning girly ruffles into world-traveler slash fashionable socialite in a heartbeat.

Ruffles have had some unfortunate connotations in the past, and people have shied away from them because they can be tough to work with or feel unflattering to various body types. This may have some truth, but several huge fashion houses took a stab at reinventing the trend, turning it on its head and reversing any negative aspects one may feel when viewing. So, take a look at these lovely examples and get shopping!