Beauty. Fashion. Lifestyle

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Checks Please! Grown Up Gingham for SS15

The Catwalk applauded a sexy and sophisticated take on the popular print this S/S, but will the high street successfully capture this fresh new revival?

Gingham invokes that traditional, all American essence. Think 50s French allure Brigette Bardot saying her “I Do’s” in her powder pink gingham dress and you’ll understand immediately. Following a brief appearance last season at Céline, the Spring/Summer 2015 catwalk infiltrated gingham back on our fashion radar. Leaving behind that classic Judy Garland pinafore, the checked textile with retro appeal has had a major revival. We’re looking at an overhaul of the traditional classic print.

Typically known as plaids younger sister, gingham is a plain-woven fabric made from died cotton or yarn. Deriving from the Malay adjective genggang, meaning striped, it was imported from Europe in the late 17thcentury and finally saw its way into English fashion. Distinguished as a checked print, the 18th century saw Manchester mills producing the blue and white textile.

This picnic friendly print was the ‘it’ trend at NYFW for Spring 2015, giving us a refined, grown up take on the country-esc pattern. With collections from Altuzarra, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta and Diane von Furstenberg the traditional gingham look saw a whimsical twist.

On the catwalk we saw it come in all sizes, from delicate micro checks to large and oversized. Easy to style and perfect for spring this versatile trend can be worn for work or leisure, with focus on everyday suits and evening wear separates. It is all about putting a new twist on an old favourite.

New York Fashion Week saw Altuzarra send incarnations of gingham down the catwalk, with a focus on seductive shirt-dresses. Adding provocative slits provided us with a sense of sex appeal that gingham simply hadn’t seen before. A day later, Diane Von Furstenberg embodied 50s Côte d’Azur in her collection, revitalizing the print with matching separates and baby-doll dresses. Michael Kors opted for a more casual approach, with oversized shapes that fused gingham with the sportswear trend. Although the bucolic pattern has been renewed for SS15, the milkmaid print tended to stick to its roots in terms of colour, with feminine powder pinks and sky blues. Dusty peaches and taupes however were also a colour of choice.

This SS15 trend has also been favoured by a handful of celebrities, with power suits being the style of choice. Rihanna embraced the gingham trend at one of her favourite restaurants, Giorgio Baldi, in a blush pink skirt suit from Altuzarra’s Spring 2015 collection. Olivia Palermo too modelled the trend, and was featured on the cover of Flare’s SS15 edition in a cherry red gingham skirt and matching unbuttoned shirt. Katie Holmes and Miley Cyrus have also been seen sporting this fresh and sexier take on gingham.
With the fashion industry’s ever changing cycle of trends, we see designers taking inspiration from previous eras and seasons. The collections from Oscar de la Renta and Michael Kors this season reminisced the previous 50’s era, where beauties such as Marylyn Monroe and Sophia Loren made the gingham print immensely popularised.

Christina Davydova, Celebrity Stylist says this is an important factor in the development of trends, ‘We keep reinventing what has been done previously by adding and twisting, giving the print or trend a new and more current feel. For example the gingham print associates with the A/W13 check print’. The high street also plays large role in the revival of trends. Davydova adds, ‘High street brands are a mirror of the designers who dictate fashion on the catwalk and inspire us to dress. Warehouse, ASOS and Misguided have already acknowledged the trend, and are creating the garments similar to the creations of Altuzarra and Oscar de la Renta’. Many high-street retailers are using gingham in its traditional lady-like garments however there is some introduction of more edgier pieces at online retailers, such as ASOS and Misguided, featuring contrasting gingham sleeves and texture material.

When seen on the runway the new modern approach was commended, but questions began to arise. Would the high street be able to pull it off effectively? Would the cheaper fabrics send the high street back into the traditional lady-like pieces we have seen time and time again?

Jessica James, Fashion Blogger at ‘Style Is Eternal’ expresses it may be an issue. ‘Gingham is a trend that needs time and thought, it should be of high quality. When I see it in high street stores sometimes I am a little disappointed. They are either on trend or a no go’. It is inevitable that high street stores cannot produce the same level of quality as designers do. Jessica adds, ‘I think Gingham, especially this season, is about the bold, clean cuts. I don’t think high street stores will be able to compete with that’. Rosie Armstrong, Fashion Blogger and Stylist on the other hand believes the high street should utilize the use of the print to emphasise details. ‘I think it would be good if it was just used in panels. If it is done discreetly I think it would do this seasons new approach justice’.

While most trends originate on the runway, the high street plays a huge importance in terms of circulation. The accessibility is an important factor on whether it will be successful off of the catwalk. Although we all may desire to afford the clothes straight from designers, for most, the high street is a way of emulating these high-end looks.

Claire Spencer-Churchill, Director at Claret showroom isn’t ready however to rule out the high streets role for gingham. ‘The UK versus any other country in Europe has such a dominant high-street. Zara and Topshop do their clothing so well, they are able to acknowledge the catwalk trends and turn them around so quickly. They make designer trends accessible for the everyday woman’.

Fun, flirty and flattering, gingham is definitely something worth talking about. As a trend that is here to stay for spring/summer it will be interesting to see how successful the high street manages to replicate the modern approach and high standards the designers have created. In truth, although many high street brands may give impact on the current attitude of the trend, it could be predicted that it may not be powerful enough for it to remain unforgettable.

Until Next Time, Emma x

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