Kids in Paris had a right laugh during haute couture fashion week. They had a bright fuschia pink and a blur of an oversized floral smock to point and giggle at on the Metro. I was mightily content though to be the laughing stocking because I had an awesome time, swishing, rustling and flapping about in an excess of fabric and volume. The swing in my step was swingier. The gait in my walk, more energetic and speedy. Uber drivers looked bemused as I bundled into the back of their cars and offered their secret stash of the ‘nice’ candy because I looked like – to paraphrase Molly Goddard’s design ethos – an adult in toddler proportioned clothing.
It’s not news that ruffles are everywhere for spring. In fact, you left the spring 2016 shows last season wondering why such an obvious trend was taking hold everywhere from Proenza Schouler to Marques Almeida to Roberto Cavalli to erm… just about everywhere in Paris. Of course everyone’s iterations of the ruffle in all its different shapes, sizes, fabrics and arrangements, means that the options for wearing this excess of gathered and sculpted fabric are plentiful. I’m honing in on the ruffles though that aren’t just trying to replicate the fondant fancy. There’s something darker, quirkier and funnier about these ruffles, prompted perhaps by the likes of Simone Rocha, who has really paved the way for the rough ‘n’ tumble boyish ruffle.
A few of the younger designers are ruffling things up in a way that I’m loving. And their wares are currently either online or the delicious looking offerings of SS16. Ukranian designer Anna K’s S/S 16 collection has already made its fairly reasonably priced way on to her own e-commerce site and judging by some of the sold-out pieces, people are onboard with her ruffled creations. I know I said I didn’t want my ruffles to fondant-like and even though Anna has described these dresses as “cake”, with the right layers underneath, both top and bottom, it’s easy enough to lessen the twee curtain effect of these pieces.
I missed Steven Tai‘s children’s birthday party held last September but it would be remiss of me to not include his awkward Easter Egg-hued ruffles. Tai’s trademark geeky girl has somehow stepped back in time to a much younger age when balloons, streamers and the right kind of cake are the makings of an ace birthday party. The clothes are a more extreme version of party dresses, made out of tablecloth blue and lemon cupcake yellow. It’s the amount of ruffly textures that makes Tai’s work tactile to the touch. He doesn’t shy away from overdoing it. Dover Street Market has a few of this particular collection in at the moment.
An unbashed lover of the ruffle is of course my good friend Ryan Lo. For S/S 16, his lovelorn heroine returns to Lo’s dresses made up of smocked and knitted swiss dot tulle, which featured in the beginning of his career. According to the press notes which yours truly penned, “Everyday is a holiday for Ryan Lo’s not-yet-a-girl, not-yet-a-woman, as she cavorts from dressing up as a Halloween playboy bunny to Santa’s sexy little helper to a candy striper for Valentine’s Day.” Happy Holidays everyone! It’s ruffles galore for all.
Last but not least, is an update on ShuShu/Tong, designed by the London-based duo of Liushu Lei and Yutong Jiang. They’ve clearly been making waves since I last wrote about their early collections with stockists like Lane Crawford and now Dover Street Market. Their S/S 16 collection is entitled Girl Gangs. Their sculpted ruffles and flared out volumes are reined in through sharp tiers of dark indigo denim and gingham check, contrasting the rebellious with obedient. Many of the pieces are now available on Lane Crawford’s international shipping e-commerce site alongside ShuShu/Tong’s previous voluminous red collection. Chinese New Year outfit anyone?