Let’s get this out of the way, right off the bat: many women have an outright aversion to gingham.
Which is understandable. It reminds many of the universally loathed school uniform, frequently resembles a tablecloth, and is most readily associated with country and western stars, or Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz. Her gingham pinafore may have fetched over £300,000 at auction in 2012, but few would actually want to wear it – unless frocking up for fancy dress.
1/8 Miss Selfridge
2/8 Fred Perry
4/8 Miss Selfridge
On the catwalk at Sibling, Spring/Summer 2015
8/8 Judy Garland
Judy Garland as ‘Wizard Of Oz’ heroine Dorothy Gale in classic checks
Nevertheless, gingham is a keynote fabric of this spring, used by brands as diverse as luxurious Italian label Bottega Veneta (in crumpled, Suddenly, Last Summer dresses), and sexpot French-born New York designer Joseph Altuzarra (a macro-sized print tugged taut in front-slit pencil skirts). It also did heavy duty elsewhere stateside, emblematic of crisp, preppy, all-American bandbox chic in the hands of Michael Kors, Diane von Furstenberg and Oscar de la Renta, in his final collection.
“It’s such a cheery fabric, with a nostalgic innocence,” comments Cozette McCreery, who designs the knitwear-focused label Sibling along with Joe Bates and Sid Bryan. That nails why fashion is toying with gingham: it gives designer something to rebel against. There was nothing innocent about Altuzarra’s skirts, for instance, while Sibling cropped their own ginghams high on the body for a look that felt more early Madonna than Munchkin Land. Exactly what you should be aiming at, too.