We are seeing a ruffle renaissance this season, with the frilly decoration emerging in infinite, unexpected variations from designers. Far from being attached to staid notions of girlishness, ruffles during spring/summer 2016 were used in exciting and dynamic ways, whether as a sculptural detail or to convey a subversive undertone. While some brands continued to embrace the trend’s typical femininity, labels including Vetements, Marques’Almeida and J.W.Anderson appropriated it with a fresh, modern approach.

At Roberto Cavalli, newly inducted creative director Peter Dundas played with a 1980s prom notion of the ruffle: some looks were literal, others more experimental, with upright ruffle-protrusions along the length of the arms of the final looks.

Ruffles are a sculptural detail frequently used by J.W.Anderson, in the designer’s continual meditation on gender fluidity. This season’s womenswear featured ruffles adorning androgynous, sporty zip-up knitwear, as well as several looks of pure feminine hyperbole — for instance, a pastel pink baby-doll dress with a foxglove collar and flounces at the sleeve and skirt hems.

The trend added whimsical movement to the gossamer gowns of Giambattista Valli, Erdem and Alexander McQueen, used to communicate the collections’ poetic vision of femininity. Ruffles are also key to Alessandro Michele’s bohemian narrative at Gucci thus far, with this season using the trend in its most overt and unexpected riff yet: cartoon-like sequinned trompe-l'œil ruffles, which served as a fundamental design motif for the collection.

With the myriad ways ruffles were presented this season, we spoke to a few members of the fashion coterie about how they’re styling this season’s most plaint trend, and asked why exactly they’re so thrilled for frills. 

Laura Larbalestier, buying director, Browns:

“Ruffles have a new edge for spring. They look really fresh worn in a relaxed way during the day, adding softness to tailoring, movement to minimalist offerings and a sense of charm and drama. J.W.Anderson’s ruffle ankle boot and Ellery’s ‘Dolores’ top are some of our favourite pieces for spring/summer 2016 at Browns. We also love Rosie Assoulin’s take on the trend — her collection took on cascading ruffles as its defining feature.” 

Veronika Heilbrunner, style editor, Harpers BAZAAR Germany:

"I am not a typical ruffles girl as I usually like it simpler and not too girly. But this season there’s another quality to the subject. I especially love when there is some Austrian stiffness to the ruffles. For example, Ellery’s white shirt dress is a dream in itself, with an air of Mozart around it. Its cut and fabrication give it a pretty summer dress quality, but I also want to wear it with wide black pants to add a hint of evening.

Vetements’ frilled polka-dot dress is ostensibly girly and classic, but actually quite daring with its open back and asymmetry. It is this kind of dress I want to put on in the morning and wear straight through to night. I’ll style it with wooden clogs or platform sandals and my straw basket."

Natalie Hartley, stylist and blogger, Natalie Hartley Wears:

"When styling the ruffles trend, I would definitely veer towards a grunge 1990s moment rather than wearing it too pretty. Balenciaga and Francesco Scognamiglio did classic ruffles so effectively, and Marques'Almeida styled it exactly how I would want to wear it: unpolished and laid back, worn with trousers to toughen it up.

Colour and fabric play a big role in defining your look and what girl you want to be. I loved the edginess of the minimal, leather ruffles at J.W.Anderson — after all, simpler designs mean you can go out without feeling too over the top and fussily dressed."