At the turn of the contury, it was Mariano "Master Pleat" Fortuny who was the consumate pleater--reknowned for his diaphonous greco-roman inspired pleated gowns. Fortuny has served as the inspiration for many contemporary avant-garde contemporary designers who manufacture collections that promote technological fabric maniupaltions, most specifically Issey Miyake, who by 1999 had turned over all design responsibilities to Naoki Takizawa to focus entirely on research. In fact, Fortuny's pleating processes are still secret and not fully understood to this day (Below we have Mrs. Conde Nast in one of Fortuny's famous tea gowns). In the seventies and eighties, pleating was picked up by Mary McFadden, who used the travel-worthy pleating to win over her wealthy jet-setty clientele. McFadden updated Fortuny's luxurious pleated draping with quilting, macrame, grosgrain binding and metallic lame'. McFadden herself was one of the orginal 54 glammazons and we hear is engaged (for the 12th time--take that Elizabeth Taylor!)
No stranger to re-interpretation, below is Alber Elbaz's take on the pleat. From the Spring 2005 collection, this saucy black silk pleated number retains the integrity of Fortuny's neo-classical lines but is modernized with brass grommets, dusty rose satin ribbon rear closure, and signature Lanvin. In a size 38 and available for $1000. It's as if Ms. Conde Nast came back to life, want dancing at the disco, fell down the stairs, got up, grabbed a cocktail, took a walk through the old MOMA garden's with the Picasso sculptures, and kissed a movie star under the Water Lillies. Hey, stranger things . . .