The Timelessness of the Pleats


No matter the city, whether it be New York, Milan or Paris, in every season surrounding the flurry of Fashion Week, there is an inevitable shift in the “It” crowd–new models arrive on the scene, new designers have their first shows, and new trends make their debuts. However, among all the new, one can often find a thread that traces back to the giants that came before. Among these is none other than the Fortuny Pleats.

While pleating is not something exclusive to Fortuny’s designs, his method is synonymous with elegance, quality, and uniqueness. Not to mention, it is one that many have attempted to emulate throughout the years. The tightness and characteristics of the Fortuny pleat can really only be achieved carefully and thoughtfully by hand and with silk. Many other types of pleats turn out linear or looser, due to fabric choice, execution, or the method used. Fortuny’s pleats will always stand alone–the nuances and attention to detail set them apart and are certainly why people still talk about Fortuny and his designs today.

The Delphos gown is arguably Fortuny’s most recognizable pleated work. Worn by the likes of Isadora Duncan, Lauren Bacall, and Tina Chow, the gown’s construction showcases the versatility of pleating, and even more, the versatility of the gown itself. Much like our fabrics here at Fortuny, each creation was a work of art. The flowing, masterful pleats resembled columns, and any woman who wore the Delphos gown looked effortless and statuesque.

Oscar de la Renta Pre-fall 2012

Jill Stuart RTW 2015

Christian Dior Spring 2015 Couture

It is no different in 2014, with women still striving to achieve a look of timeless sophistication, to which designers answer with pleats. They are a perpetual fashion week staple, most notably in designs by Oscar de la Renta and Lanvin. The Spring 2015 collections shown this past New York Fashion Week also have a number of notable homages to Fortuny’s cutting, styling, and pleating. Jill Stuart’s modern jumpsuit is crafted with a pleated blush-colored silk, while Alexander Wang, in an interview with Vogue, explained how he “wanted to reinterpret and manipulate [his] ideas and mix them with the cutting of Madame Grés and Fortuny.” Regardless of the methods used to achieve them, Fortuny’s pleats and silhouettes will always be aesthetically beautiful, tasteful, and intriguing, a testament to his revolutionary methods and iconic status among the world of design.