Of all the trends that have emerged on the runways over the years, it’s clear that pleats are the most visible to make a dent on spring fashion. Who can forget the pleats that Issey Miyake used to launch his ‘Pleats Please’ label in 1993. But this season the trend has been taken to a whole new level and the pleat has been given a major makeover. This flourishing trend is less like a fold and more like a crimped material, giving a slinky feminine silhouette to any look. The key to rocking the micro pleat look this season is choosing a light material with teeny tiny pleats. Grasping motivation from the international runways, Indian exporters are pepped up like never before and are all set to use this technique in their garments, anywhere and everywhere.
Pleats have been doing the rounds in the fashion world for a long time, where starchy, tough, material was the go-to-look. Issey Miyake’s approach was more high-tech than artisanal, inspired by a commission from the Frankfurt Ballet, the fabric-obsessed Japanese designer found a way to heat-set polyester into micro pleats that could move and be manipulated into any kind of shape, architectural or streamlined. And this season, fashion welcomed micro pleats into its fold at Elizabeth and James, Boss, Depozo, Marchesa and few other designer collections.
Sheer Box Micro Pleating
Pleating as a fashion technique is unavoidable as it enhances the aesthetical and functional efficacy of the garment. Designers can be very creative with pleats, by the way they choose to position them and the way the garment is designed. According to designers like Delpozo, J.Mendel and Boss, micro pleating brought the power to slim, stretch and sculpt the garment. Their Spring /Summer ’17 – Ready-to-wear collections embraced this technique in all their semblances, everything from sheer skirts, tops, shirts and dresses. The latest trend apprises micro pleating as translucent, gauzy and flouncy oscillating the grace between the thick and the thin. Akin box pleating, this intricate pleating technique has paved its way back into technical development. Rupa Dutt, Partner, Designer Lady London, avers “With micro pleating technique gaining the spotlight again, we are doing it on a lot of our garments like dresses, skirts, baby dolls tops and full tops. We are working a lot with this technique on sheer fabrics to be precise. These kinds of techniques never really go out of fashion, but witness their ups and downs, figuring out the right time to be explored and brought into the market.”
Glossy Metallic Micro Pleats
Working the trend for S/S ’17 Ready-to-wear, Marchesa and Oscar de la Renta stole all the stares in flapper-esque long dresses. The dresses threw a flashy yet glossy appeal creating a luminous scene to the collection. Where Marchesa tried this technique on one-colour metallic dressing with matching ruffled floral accessories, Oscar de la Renta revised his collection from minimalism to hi-fashion micro pleated long dress. Micro pleating not only provides metallic fabrics a classy appeal but also enhances its value as it brings out dim and shiny metallic variations to the same garment: plenty of surface interest was seen via lightweight pinstripes and seersuckers. Manoj Meena, Director, Mahima Fashions adds, “While in sheer fabrics, micro pleated garments looks very sexy and eye catchy, but the same garment when rendered in metallic or glossy fabrics, like satins, foil fabric, lame and wet look spandex, bring out a very sharp and edgy side of the technique.”
Micro Pleated Waist
Pleats were used to define outfits and to lend a structural element to the season. However, Micro pleats did not come with stereotypical structural placements for Deplozo and Emilia Wickstea garments. The technique found its way right to the waist providing an adequate amount of aesthetic and functional appeal. Deplozo experimentation of micro pleating was clean and organised resting on waist of a crumbled fabric dress. Emilia Wickstea white printed dress was an enhanced version of micro pleating, accompanied by gathering technique that created an interesting amalgamation. Shreya Ajesh, Designer, Manglam Arts who is highly inspired by this technique says, “Micro pleating will stay for a couple of seasons more. It is one of the classiest techniques that provide a variation and break to the garment. We have used the same in the yolk and back of our dresses and tops so as to enhance those body areas as well as to provide beauty and functionality.”
Micro Pleated Ruffles
With this revolutionary fabric-folding technique, most fine pleating had drawn on the classic style of Elizabeth and James and J.Crew garments. A fancy alternative to this technique was witnessed on the ruffles of the dresses, and were a sky-high agenda for this season. The Elizabeth and James squad got it started on the S/S ’17 Ready-to-wear catwalk, with micro pleated ruffles clinging on the hems of the white dresses. J.Crew styled the garments with huge intricately micro pleated ruffles resting all over the dress. Pankaj Kumar, Owner, Arvind Kumar & Co explains his women wear collection inspired from high-end Italian designs. “Ruffles are everywhere, but ruffles with micro pleating technique has understated the rest for some time now. The ruffles were just about twirling and folding initially, but with micro pleating holding on, they have made ruffles look pretty and feminine like never before.”
With this gathering technique being validated by the runways, the journey to thrill the viewers with romantic ways of treating the garment has only just begun. The story of micro pleating does not end here and there is a hoard of garment elements where this technique has conquered the throne. Ujwal Sadh, Aarna Fashions Accessories corroborates the same: “Micro Pleating is not very tough to handle, and that’s the beauty of this technique. It builds the garment in a simplistic yet high fashion way by fabric manipulation. We have used this technique on scarves of different fabrics, from silk to cotton and cotton mixed linen and they have worked really well for us.”