Spring/ Summer 2013 is a time for power ruffles

If there’s a list of things one wouldn’t associate with Riccardo Tisci at the helm of Givenchy, ruffles would be on it. The designer whose steady stream of influence comes from Christian iconography (one may recall his menswear showcased earlier this year, in June, with its share of Christ images, holy vestments and priest collars) and Goth imagery, has always had an overtly dark and edgy tone to his work. For his Spring/ Summer 2013 line for Givenchy, which showcased in Paris last month, he let some sunlight in.

Powder blue featured prominently in a line that was otherwise monochrome. And ruffles — around necklines and extending around armholes; on sleeves and necklines of sheer blouses worn over vests; along sides of mono-sleeve dresses; along spines of dresses, where they slowly give way to wispy trains. Despite the gold collars, flashes of other metal accessories and the severely parted pair, this was one of the most “feminine” collections from the house in recent years.

While ruffles have always been a favourite with certain labels, like Giambattista Valli, this is the season of the power ruffles — not the sheer, wispy sort they’ve usually been but stronger, a little less delicate, an extension of silhouette rather than an addition.

British designer Claire Waight Keller at minimalist label Chloe was another one to, uncharacteristically, turn to ruffles this season. Ruffles here came along necklines, along sleeve lengths (like bird wings), and sheer tiered blouses.

At Gucci in Milan, creative director Frida Giannini relied on giant ruffles and cut-outs on solid hues (though the collection featured prints too), for a strong Spring/ Summer 2013, while Dries Van Noten paired sheer ruffle tops with check shirts and trousers. At his debut ready-to-wear show for Christian Diar, Raf Simons used ruffles to add movement to shift dresses.