Frills were BIG everywhere, both in terms of proportion and in terms of popularity . The styles are most eager to get a hold of, though, are that balanced the femininity with a little sleekness or ease—think asymmetrical dresses, one-shoulder tops, and voluminous skirts styled as effortlessly as a pair of jeans.
In sewing and dressmaking, a ruffle, frill, or furbelow is a strip of fabric, lace or ribbon tightly gathered or pleated on one edge and applied to a garment, bedding, or other textile as a form of trimming.
The term flounce is a particular type of fabric manipulation that creates a similar look but with less bulk. The term derives from earlier terms of frounce or fronce. A wavy effect effected without gathers or pleats is created by cutting a curved strip of fabric and applying the inner or shorter edge to the garment. The depth of the curve as well as the width of the fabric determines the depth of the flounce. A godet is a circle wedge that can be inserted into a flounce to further deepen the outer floating wave without adding additional bulk at the point of attachment to the body of the garment, such as at the hemline, collar or sleeve.
Ruffles appeared at the draw-string necklines of full chemises in the 15th century, evolved into the separately-constructed ruff of the 16th century. Ruffles and flounces remained a fashionable form of trim, off-and-on into modern times.
For a long time, frills have been a detail added to make things look fancy. Fancy is not, you may have noticed, a term of high praise in this column, or any fashion column in the last half-century. Fancy isn’t chic, or stylish. Fancy is quite the opposite. The aesthetic of our age demonises clutter, and frills have become little more than visual clutter. Frankly, we have become snobbish about frills.
The narrative of fashion being what it is, it was therefore only a matter of time until the frill made a resounding comeback. Catwalk shows for Lanvin and Givenchy in Paris, and for Gucci in Milan, all included dresses with unmissable frills.
Unmissable is the key word here. The frill as rebooted for summer 2013 is a strident, definite sort of a frill. The changes are marked in simplicity, texture and scale: rather than narrow, soft frills repeated ad infinitum around the edge of a garment like cocktail-hour small talk, you have one bold, stiffened, cap-locked detail. Where traditional frills echoed the neat symmetry of a suburban flower bed, the modern frill is asymmetric and unexpected. The frill on the dress I am wearing today reminds me less of petals or sand ripples than of the Japanese print the Great Wave Off Kanagawa. It is elegant, yet a force to be reckoned with.