Word + Quiz: flounce

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Word + Quiz: flounce

noun: the act of walking with exaggerated jerky motions

noun: a strip of pleated material used as a decoration or a trim

verb: walk emphatically

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The word flounce has appeared in five articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on Feb. 11 in the fashion review “Party People and Twisted Sisters” by Vanessa Friedman:

Disorientation is the new normal. Where’s the fashion that makes sense of that state? Or at least acknowledges it is happening.

Not, as is turned out, at Herrera, where the designer Wes Gordon has been touting words like “optimism” and “fun” since he took over from the founder two years ago. This time ’round he added “one grand gesture” (that’s what he called the collection) — a fluted sleeve! A baby doll flounce! — in saturated Crayola-box shades: sky blue, emerald, cherry, aquamarine. One-shouldered tunics sloped off in a ruffle over skinny trousers, and floral fil coupé gowns swept the floor. They had a lush clarity, but no urgency.

Once upon a time — back in the early ’80s when Mrs. Herrera founded her house, when there was a big chunk of New York that gathered in ballrooms and salons and needed such fancy frocks — that was enough. Not any more. That world is disappearing under a tide of disruption and dystopianism. Ignore it and risk irrelevancy. No matter how many lovely flounces you put on top.

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