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Gucci made me go from loathing to loving pleated skirts

Lisa Welden-Lennkh

I’ve never ever been a fan of pleated skirts. They’ve always looked so much like upside-down cupcake casings to me. Am I right?

Colorful cupcake cups
Image: 5second/Getty Images

They just seemed a little frumpy and Miss Marple-ish, like something the Queen wears when she’s going to feed her horses.

Queen Elizabeth II
Image: WENN

Remember in the late 1980s when Issey Miyake launched his — terribly unflattering — ‘Pleats Please’ line? My answer then — and now — was always an unequivocal, “No thank you.”

Issey Mikaye wrap
Image: Amarcord Vintage Fashion

If there is one thing I have learned in the world of style and fashion, it is to never say never. Never will I wear culottes. Never will I wear boho. Never will I wear flats. Never will I wear sneakers with a skirt. Tick, tick, tick and tick. I’ve done them all now, plus countless other nevers.

So, there I sat, Miss Pleat-Hater, poring over all of the photos from the recent fashion weeks, and what did my eyes keep lingering on? Pleated skirts. I blame it all on Alessandro Michele, the new creative director at Gucci. I saw one particular image from the Gucci runway that made me suck in my breath with the newness, the originality and the sheer Wes Anderson bonkersness of it all, and this one photo completely (compleately?) changed my no-pleats policy.

Gucci 1
Image: Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images

You may hate it, but I love every. single. thing. about it… from the brown beanie at the top to the pink metallic slides at the bottom and the Gucci heritage stripes in between. Granted, bling is my thing; so if you make something glittery or shiny, I’m so transfixed by the sparkle that I obviously forget all about my prejudice — even against pleats.

Gucci offered a few other amazing pleat variations. Lace pleats, equal parts prim and sexy. I love this.

Gucci 2
Image: Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images

Color-blocked foil-candy-wrapper pleats. I dreamt of things like this for my Barbie when I was little, instead of that pink floral nonsense.

Gucci 3
Image: Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images

I’m not a fan of prints (I say this now, but watch me do a post on a print I’ve fallen madly in love with at some point, damn it), but if Ottoman Cowgirl is your vibe, then this is just for you.

Gucci 4
Image: Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images

I also usually have a lot of love for whatever Stella McCartney does each season, and what do you think she is doing for Spring/Summer 2016? Pleats. Have a look. Can’t you just see yourself swishing around in these architectural pleats on a very hot summer day? Each little pleat joyfully catching the breeze and rippling just so?

Stella McCartney 1
Image: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Stella McCartney 2
Image: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

After seeing these runway pleats, I set about scouring the internet for an equivalent. I’m not splurging on pleats, as per the rules in my last post. I turned up this bit of pleated perfection below at Zara. This is shiny, modern, stylish and needs to be in my closet. They’re separates too, so extra points for versatility. Silver and black are my life; I can really see this slotting into my wardrobe.

Image: Zara

Also at Zara is this pleated faux-leather skirt in a my-pet-has-colitis color that doesn’t really work for me, but it does have a certain vintage appeal. It also comes in black, mercifully.

Zara 2
Image: Zara

This forest green satin skirt at Topshop looks really versatile and could be super for the holidays with a little sparkle or some red thrown in.

Topshop 1
Image: Topshop

Here’s a lovely bronzey-gold lamé one from Topshop that is nearly sold out — apparently I’m not the only one in a metallic pleat frenzy. This is the closest to the Gucci one that I’ve been able to find, although it is a much more restrained color than the brassy gold at Gucci.

Topshop 2
Image: Topshop

I, of course, have done the least sensible thing, and I’ve gone and ordered this one below (also Topshop) because it is on sale for less than a cocktail. It is shorter than the Gucci ones, so it may not be as good as the Zara option, but we’ll see.

Topshop 3
Image: Topshop

I might add that if this silver skirt I ordered doesn’t look like an upside-down cupcake casing, then I don’t know what does! See?

Sliver baking cups
Image: Amazon

Below are two photos that show how beautifully and easily an accordion-pleated skirt can be styled for everyday (i.e. off of the Gucci runway). I love these pleats toned down with a sweater. What do you think? Are you a pleat lover, a pleat hater or pleat agnostic?

Pleated skirt with a sweater
Image: Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images
Wholesale Ladies Fashion Sweet Natural Waist Pleated Chiffon Skirt With Lining
Image: Wholesale 7

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