How does a 15 year old girl carry off a red carpet look in the middle of the day for the premiere of an animated feature film? If you’re Grace VanderWaal you do it with great style! In ruffles!

Ah, the ruffle! It’s considered a major fashion trend for Spring, 2019 adding a touch of “feminine whimsy” while having grown to supersize proportions bordering parody. It was also considered a major trend in 2017… also every decade since the 1950s when it made a major comeback, courtesy of Dior and Balenciaga, after the austerity of the World War II years. The ruffle has actually never been out of style for the past 600 years.

Since the 50s, ruffles have been almost exclusively a female fashion embellishment, notwithstanding Seinfeld’s “puffy shirt” in 2009. But the proto-ruffle first appeared in German men’s fashion in the 16th century with two layers of fabric – the top one slashed so the under layer puffed out in a wrinkled manner. Expanded on by Henry VIII who added a neck ruffle it grew to amazing size during the Elizabethan era when starched and wired ruffs were all the rage. Some were so large that the wearer couldn’t feed themselves.

Marie Antoinette loved lace ruffles on her collars and sleeves in the 1700s. Southern belles of the 19th century looked like giant cakes made of ruffles. Flamenco dancers use multiple rows of ruffles on their skirts to enhance the movement of their dances.

For centuries, even as men relinquished the ruff they embraced the jabot, often festooned with layers of lace. Nor did men neglect the cuffs of their shirts, adorning them with the ubiquitous ruffle. Men have mostly eschewed the ruffle in modern times with the exception of the ruffled shirt for formal dress. You can still see a jabot, though. Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, has a collection of them which she wears with her ceremonial robes while wielding her tremendous power.

So what makes Grace’s red carpet look so special? Designed by Marc Jacobs, the ruffles of her dress fall from a round, gathered neckline to mid-thigh in deep layers, like a lantern fuchsia bell, in a lovely primrose yellow edged in a ribbon of the same fabric. It’s unclear how the dress fastens, but two wide ribbons fall from her left shoulder and trail past the hemline. Her stems, er… legs, are encased in sparkly charcoal tights ending in bone colored high heels with a buckled strap across the instep. (Not pumps, mind you – High Heels!)

The versatility of Grace’s haircut was on display as she parted it on the left, swept her bangs to the side, and tucked the short ends behind her ears, letting them show in all their tiny, elven-like insouciance. It was a very different look for her, fully exposing her beautiful bone structure. Her minimal makeup was a perfect complement to her fresh, afternoon look.

The Marc Jacobs creation is remarkably versatile, being both striking (essential for a red carpet look) and light enough for a daytime event (although it could easily transition into evening as well). Jacobs is considered a “fashion rebel” having been fired from Perry Ellis in 1993 for his “grunge” collection and currently refusing to design anything having to do with street wear. He left Louis Vuitton in 2013 after sixteen years as the creative director and has struggled trying to manage his own business. He’s widely regarded as one of the most talented American designers of his generation with a wide following of celebrities, so it’s unlikely that his career is in any serious danger despite business management issues.

I wonder if Jacobs chose that outfit for Grace personally. He did send flowers to her New York show at Irving Plaza during the “Just The Beginning” tour.

Maria (of course) has the fashion photo:

So what did you think of Grace’s red carpet look?

This article was first posted on VanderVault’s YouTube channel: