Pleats may come in a range of styles — box, accordion, and knife pleats are just a few — but no matter what size or shape you opt for, it's a remarkably stylish look for Spring. We saw pretty pleated skirts on the runways at Prada, Jil Sander, and more, proving just how easy it is to look pulled-together and feminine — with little effort required. Just throw on one of these floaty pieces with a simple tee or blouse, then add a chic topper like a knit cardigan or blazer (we especially love the look with a leather jacket to edge up an evening ensemble). When it comes to shoes, pleated skirts look just as great with pointy-toe heels as they do with a pair of round-toe flats; you can also throw a pair of lace-up brogues into the mix for a boy-meets-girl, totally on-trend daytime outfit. Click through the widget below to shop our picks, all under $100.
According to WWD's sources, Dior is closing in on a contract with 43-year-old Simons, although the deal has yet to be concluded. Among the details that still need to be worked out: a start date (Simons, who has been at Jil Sander since 2005, reportedly just recently extended his contract with that house for an unknown duration) and when his first Dior collection would debut (likely not for Spring 2012 couture in January nor Fall 2012 in March).
Dior CEO Sidney Toledano is currently traveling in Asia and was not immediately reachable for comment, and Simons did not return phone calls.
>> The models backstage at yesterday's Milan Fashion Week shows certainly got into character. There was camped-up saluting at Emporio Armani's nautical-themed show, sophisticated posturing at Jil Sander, and super-sexy smoldering at Emilio Pucci. Get a peek at all the antics — plus an up-close look at the beauty and accessories — from all those shows, here in the gallery.
Photos by Greg Kessler
>> Raf Simons lives alone in Antwerp — although he is obligated to spend almost 110 days a year in Milan, working on Jil Sander — but it sounds like he is considering a move. Berlin and New York are both prospects, with New York the frontrunner because of its art world connections and because he prefers it to Berlin, Simons says. "In this business, I know I could work somewhere else one day," he adds. "But I'll always keep this apartment [in Antwerp]." There were recently unconfirmed rumors that Simons may be collaborating with Kanye West on his impending line; no word as to whether such a collaboration — if the rumors are true — might prompt such a move. [WSJ]
Stripes have long been a wardrobe essential among the fashion-forward set, and this season proves no exception to said sartorial standards. Jil Sander, Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs, and Sonia Rykiel all featured this preppy print on their Spring runways, updating it with vibrant hues and contrasts. Watch our video to see three savvy new ways to play with this pattern! On Allison: Alice + Olivia dress from Shopbop.com
>> Tilda Swinton has played muse for Viktor & Rolf and Haider Ackermann — she met both, as well as Alber Elbaz, Stefano Pilati, Phoebe Philo, and Raf Simons (who designed her wardrobe for the 2010 film I Am Love) — through her close friend Jerry Stafford, the creative director of a French production company, who she works with in place of a stylist. “He’s my playmate,” she says. “It’s a game, and we have great fun with it.”
Swinton cites David Bowie and her father, Major General Sir John Swinton, as her style icons, and says of working with friends on what she wears for the red carpet: “For someone to know what you need to make you comfortable, they need to know who you are. Having them make clothes for me is like being cooked for by someone who knows what you like to eat.”
For the one-sleeve black Lanvin sheath she wore to the 2008 Oscars, for instance, she told Elbaz she wanted “to attract as little attention as possible and to feel as comfortable as if I were wearing pajamas. Little did I know that the really simple, chic dress one might have worn in Paris or Berlin would stick out like a sore thumb in Los Angeles.”
Stafford also creative directed Swinton's cover story for the August 2011 issue of W (left) — together they created a mood board for the shoot.
>> After a three-year run with Uniqlo, Jil Sander's Fall 2011 +J collection will be her last, the company announced today in a release: "With the recent completion of the design of the . . . Fall and Winter collection, Ms. Sander and [Uniqlo] agreed that they had fully explored the possibilities of their creative collaboration and accomplished what they had set out to do. Consequently, the two parties have decided to wrap up their design consulting agreement with this collection."
Uniqlo has never disclosed revenue for the +J line, and although Sander is notoriously difficult to work with, her relations with the company seemed to be going well as recently as February. According to an interview dated Feb. 1 with Tadashi Yanai, CEO and founder of Uniqlo parent company Fast Retailing, Yanai said: “Jil’s attitude towards clothing creation is truly incredible. She is particularly masterful when it comes to garment shape and style. She will recreate and refresh her designs until she is completely satisfied — even when it comes to the minutest detail. That is why customers feel so satisfied with the fit of collection clothes the instant they try them on. Uniqlo must embrace this fundamental attitude, as well as the passion and attention to detail that Jil brings to creating clothes.”
A Fast Retailing spokesman confirmed today that the company's team of 100 designers “learned a lot” while working with Sander, including her famed attention to detail in selection of raw materials.