Item of the week: the wrinkled dress

What it is:

Wrinkled details have been an indispensable part of the current fashion season, especially applied in so-called bodycon (super-tight) dresses and skirts. The regular use of the ripple effect in some recent fashion shows suggests that the trend is very current. The French word ‘ruché’, meaning ‘gathered, wrinkled or pleated’, is an ancient technique of pleating fabric to create a wrinkling effect. In its current form, the fabric is gathered to a fixed point of the garment to create visual tension. We’ve seen this technique in several pieces during the recent fashion weeks, especially in form-fitting dresses and skirts where the wrinkle effect can serve as a striking accent. We see similar looks more and more on the high street, or more wearable versions of them. The trend’s popularity is due to its flattering silhouettes and adjustable features.

Image: Na-kd

Why you want it:

The ripple effect was regularly applied in both the Spring Summer-22 and Fall Winter-22 fashion weeks by beloved designers who each put their own modern spin on the style. Thanks to their unique interpretation of the trend, and its appearance in recent seasons, it has become a fixture in the coming season. The style’s increased adoption could mean its longevity, given its subtle ties to the current Y2K trend are guiding the Gen Z’ers. High street translations often lead to wearable pieces and offer a trendy alternative to typical evening wear with a look that flatters the body.

Photo: Zengi

Where is it spotted:

Gathering is a technique that several designers have explored in recent seasons, and Fall Winter-22 is no exception. Despite all versions of the design, Nensi Dojaka may be responsible for the current increased popularity of the ripple effect. Known for her technical, detailed mini-dresses, Dojaka’s looks often feature plenty of wrinkles alongside laced laces and cutouts for looks that have a lingerie-esque feel. Supriya Lele showcased similar ruffled designs in this season’s LFW collection, featuring deconstructed garments with contoured silhouettes. Frequent wrinkles were also seen in a number of creations by the New York designer duo Proenza Schouler, especially a piece in which the wrinkles completely determined the shape of the dress. Ahluwalia also applied the ripple effect in a number of designs, such as in a mini dress with contrasting colors and a close-fitting waist emphasized by neon shades.

Foto: Stella McCartney

How to style it:

Styling this trend ultimately depends on the style category the pleated dress falls into, with several versions available on the high street. High-end designers regularly opt for a deconstructed dress where the pleats arise at different points of the garment to ultimately determine its shape. Referring to how these designers do it, an alternative is to play with the deconstructed element by layering pieces over each other to create more depth and new silhouettes. For a simple take on the dress style, as seen in figure-hugging mini and midi dresses, opt for a top layer, such as an oversized blazer or cropped denim jacket. Even the simplest of dresses often offer the option of adjusting the ripple effect to play with length, shape and silhouette, depending on the wearer’s needs.

Foto: The Kooples

While the wrinkle technique is something that designers have used extensively in their current collections, it has been around on the high street since last season and will remain a staple for the coming season. The technique’s increased popularity can be attributed to its figure-flattering silhouette and Gen Z’s fascination with nostalgic fashion eras of the past. With the appearance of the pleated dress at several Fall Winter-22 fashion shows, this historic technique seems to be taking the industry by storm.

Photo: Ted Baker
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This article originally appeared on Translation and adaptation into Dutch by Wendela van den Broek.

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