Genesis of Ruffles
“You think you know, but you have no idea”
I have never quite been able to wrap my head around the notion that if you ask a fashion history book (or, say, Wikipedia) about the genesis of ruffles, they will take you back to the 15th century and spew some rhetoric about neck-lines and threading and threaded neck-lines. In a more modern day, it seems obvious that the inspiration behind what would become a renown technique in matters of dressmaking was the outcome of a woman’s ambitious quest to find love in a hopeless place. Which, in this instance, meant finding creativity inside her vagina.
Picture this: said woman, (maybe, maybe not reincarnated as a modern day Miuccia Prada if only for the “ugly-chic” factor) finds a lucid reflection across a shiny surface where she can see into her own soul. Fascinated by the cogitation of exterior self, she thinks about that which really defines her. Could she see it? Should she be able to see it? What is definition?
She waits for down time, (in hopes that no horse and buggy could interrupt the forthcoming study). Once the sun begins setting and the public arena has grown quiet, she strips herself of her lace-up girdle and white cotton knickers, and sits down, legs spread eagle in front of the surface. Then, she leans in (maybe she’s been reincarnated as Sheryl Sandberg?) for a better view.
Taking mental notes to jot down the curiosities that construct the interior of her vagina, she stares in utter bewilderment. Because she’s no dummy, the venus fly trapper discards the less innovative, more obvious facets of the vagina and focuses attention on the untapped artistry. Naturally, this leaves her rather bemused and more importantly satisfied. Her own labia is the source of much anima. Pun so intended. How exquisite, precise and full of dimension, she probably thought.
And that’s when it was decided: she would get hold of some thread and some cotton, and attempt to wear her innermost vulva on her outermost body.
“Ruffle, I shall call it,” our prehistoric feminist exclaimed, “for with it, I shall ruffle the feathers of humanity.”
And that she did.
Almost immediately, the trend earned traction. Faster than wedge sneakers in 2011, even. For years following, both men and women would participate in ruffle-wearing. This quite naturally presented few problems for the women even in spite of their ignorance regarding the birth of their preferred trim.
On the other end of the genitalia, however, through even the most deeply of misogynistic epoques, the men in question would naively sport, in a most emasculating and discernible manner, the quintessence of femininity around their necks. Had they been aware, even the irony impaired could have appreciated this idiosyncratic paradox, no?
And to think, we were denied the right to elect our nation’s president. Indeed, this was certainly a job far better suited for the dudes sporting vaginas around their necks. Of course!
Now in 2013 and more specifically as a result of Spring’s runway season, you know how it goes: three’s a trend. But five? Five is a revolution! And this season in treatments we need not neglect: you guessed it, ruffles are tying the town frilly. Images above clock in from Nicolas Ghesquiere’s final runway show for Balenciaga, the masterful craft of Rei Kawakubo, demarcating the lines of that which makes a sleeve appropriate and functional (I’ve counted four on the particular garment in question) thus far. There are two hits from Tisci’s show for Givenchy featuring barely there eyebrows and exquisite chokers amuck, a meticulous job from Claire Waight-Keller’s work for Chloe and finally, the one baring a most candid semblance to the labia: all hail Gucci.