L-R: Lisa, Anna, and Margot, adopted daughters of dancer Isadora Duncan, in Fortuny Dephos gowns circa 1920s, Stylesight; Issey Miyake Pleats Please "Guest Artist Series" Dresses, Spring/Summer 1997, The Kyoto Costume Institute
Lately I’ve been fixated on the finely-pleated fashions of Mariano Fortuny and Issey Miyake, inspired by my current bedside read, Taschen's Pleats Please. Developed nearly ninety years apart, both Fortuny and Miyake's pleated dresses revolutionized women's clothing in the twentieth century.
Fortuny's pleated silk Delphos gowns were inspired by the dress of a classical Greek statue, the Charioteer of Delphi, and were meant to be worn with minimal undergarments – a radical notion in the early 1900s, when most women wore corsets. Initially used as at-home loungewear, Delphos gowns only became acceptable to wear in public in the 1920s as dress codes and social mores relaxed, and women achieved suffrage and political equality. (Coincidence? I think not.) Although the pleats were heat set (by a secret process that still remains unknown today), they could lose their shape, and the dresses had to be worn and stored carefully. Miyake essentially improved upon Fortuny’s design by creating heat-set pleated dresses from a special tricot blend that is both static-free and wrinkle-resistant. In the process, he invented truly easy-to-wear garments for modern women -- that look as good at home as they do at work or social events.
Snag these perennially chic styles for $100.00 or lesswith Miyake's Pleats Please accessories, and second-hand pleated garments by Miyake and others.
S.S.W. Asks: Would YOU wear these pleated fashions?