Ruffles and frills get a bad press – thanks no doubt to the inevitable link to loo roll hiding crinolines, Flamenco dancers and maroon silk taffeta bridesmaid dresses.
But this season such flounces were given a modern makeover in the hands of Nicolas Ghesquière for his last collection as creative director of Balenciaga, in which high-slit asymmetric skirts, peplum waists and bell sleeves were all given a contrast-bonded, sculptural flourish.
London-based JW Anderson’s frills on bandeaus, shorts and dresses were sporty and subversive, as is the designer’s stock in trade. Ruffles appeared at Gucci too: harking back to the louche style of the early Seventies, they spiralled around sleeves and necklines.
However modernised, many of the current crop of ruffled garments remain feminine – with soft, undulating lines, how could they be anything but? And with the advantage of a slight sense of edginess, anyone who usually runs from the formal dressing that social events of summer call for, may find that they are, for once, in favour of frills and fripperies. Reassuringly, a sculpted shape should allay the fears of those who normally fear excess wafting fabric.
The sweetness of pastel silk is balanced with sports-luxe shapes and details too, making the look youthful and fresh rather than too saccharine, while a shorter than usual hem feels offset by that extra flounce of fabric.
Frills on skirts call for bare legs – that rule applies doubly when the skirt is slit – and heavier fabrics are a great way to ensure that your outfit doesn’t flop in the heat of an overseas wedding. It’s inevitable that you’ll end up shaking your ruffles on the dance floor, so flat brogues or sturdy heels are best for both comfort and style.