I’ve become a pleat fanatic! I just love the way a pleated dress or skirt looks as it makes fabric look so tres chic!

It was my recent experience with Specialty Pleaters in Melbourne, who hand pleated detail on a dress for me, that inspired this blog.

Upon chatting with Simon, the owner of Specialty Pleaters, I learned that he was on the verge of closing his workroom. I felt compelled to write a blog post about the fantastic art of pleating and what a true disaster it would be if the last pleat workshops were to close. Where would all the fashion loving race ladies get our custom pleats from?? Devastating!

So, I’ve collated plenty of information on the art form, examples of pleats worn at the track and inspo on the gorgeous looks they can produce.

I hope this post inspires you to try out a pleated feature in your next race day look or, to incorporate them in your next bespoke dress!

What are Pleats?

Pleats are an ancient art of fabric manipulation that originated in Egypt. They were a symbol of power and luxury, adorned by the rich; queens and pharaohs. ‘Pleating’ or ‘Plisse’ alters the shape of fabric to create geometric patterns and stripes. It turns a bi-dimensional surface into a tri-dimensional pattern.

Pleats are associated with luxury because of the skillset and time taken to create a pleated garment. Many years ago, pleats could be made by using egg whites or a liquid gum solution to solidify the fabric into the desired pleated effect, but once washed, the fabric would need to be pleated all over again. Can you imagine all that work unravelling before your eyes?

These days, while some pleated fabric for ready-to-wear fashion can be made by machine, the traditional art of pleating is still very much done by hand, especially for couture and one-off garments.

A number of couture fashion houses feature pleats in their runway collections year after year. Chanel took over Atelier Lognon, one of Paris’s last hand pleaters, in order to preserve the skills and knowledge of its aging owner who had no successors.

Christian Dior

pleated skirt dior

Image: www.vogue.com

pleats used in high fashion

Image: www.vogue.com

Givenchy

pleats couture

Image: www.harpersbazaar.com, www.vogue.com

pleats trend on the catwalk

Image: www.vogue.com

Chanel

layered pleats and shoulder pleat detail

Image: www.livingly.com, www.vogue.com

Peter Pilotto

vibrant shiny silk pleats

Image: www.vogue.com

Ermanno Scervino