Ruffles, I must admit, are not exactly one of my favorite things. They conjure up images of the country decorating style that was popular in the early 80s—lots of ruffles and check and wooden ducks and pot pourri. None of these things are offensive alone, but the combination feels rather dated now. My mother went for this look (one of her phases), and I do believe there were ruffles involved.
And yet, not long ago I took my family by surprise by plopping down an ottoman with a linen slipcover with pleats (my word) that are very close to a ruffles (their word). True I lean toward tailored rather than romantic most of the time, but as a detail, ruffles do have the allure of being quite charming and even chic, if done well.
I’m definitely charmed by the sofa above covered in Soane Britian’s Dianthus Chintz, and the long, lazy ruffles are the perfect unexpected, elegant touch.
Style icon Bunny Mellon used the ruffle sparingly. She added it (short and long) to a chair here and there in rooms with otherwise straight lines.
Antique dealer and textile designer Robert Kime seems perfectly at ease with his armchair skirted in a traditional ruffle.
Next to the fireplace, designer Cameron Kimber has covered a chair in floral chintz, ruffled the skirt, and added fringe.
This sofa’s short ruffles are in Bowood Chintz by Colefax and Fowler. ( Fashion designer Tory Burch has used the same fabrics on a pair of sofas with a longer ruffled skirt that touches the floor.)
Sweeping the floor is whole other look, which adds even more drama, like a woman in a long skirt (especially when everyone else is wearing short skirts).
Here, artist Frank Faulkner updates the classic ruffled skirt by using crisp white cotton, something like the crisp ruffled white shirt below, which has been seen on fashion magazine pages lately (fashion and interior design are always in conversation aren’t they?).
So what do you think? Are ruffles making a comeback or just ruffling feathers?
Perhaps the lesson is this: stay true to who you are. As we know, trends come and go. But style is timeless. Bunny Mellon’s skirted dust ruffle below looks, well, like Bunny Mellon. Very stylish.
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