For some reason, whenever I see, hear or think of gingham, everything inside me tells me ‘Oh No!’. Perhaps it is because the pattern has some seriously ghastly connotations in my mind. My school uniforms always seemed to be made of gingham for one, so that’s one reason it always sends me running for cover. To add further insult to injury, gingham always seemed to portray angelic ‘good girl’ vibes which really didn't really fit with my younger self at all, it still DOESN'T !
Come to think of it, another contributing factor to my gingham trauma is probably the gingham clad, anti-feminist image of women in popular movies and musicals such as Annie Get Your Gun (1950), Calamity Jane (1953), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), Oklahoma! (1955) and Carousel (1956). These films were a firm favourite of myparents and seemed to be on constant repeat on the TV for the duration of my childhood. Yes – this is probably the crux of my distaste for the fabric. These post World War II America films always had a female Doris Day type perfect girl-next-door character who just oozed old-fashioned values of domesticity, all dressed in home-spun gingham as she baked cakes in a white frilly apron and cocktails and dinner ready as soon as her man came home from work, oh dear.So.Not.Me.
This summer however, gingham seems to have been given a more gritty, rough around the edges makeover, and as such, I am prepared to give it a second chance. So far, my favourite pieces are the Henry Holland mini-dresses and boob-tubes in that chocolate boxy dairy milk colour or Silk Cut purple hue. Holland’s wide-armed tracksuit in the same deep claret colour as the West Ham squad uniforms, with inlays of gingham, are a look I would ride all the wayand are definitely a far cry from the Doris Day chic I had previously associated with the pattern.
Let’s clear up the confusion between plaid and gingham.Both are on the catwalk for SS17 and FW17, but the difference is that gingham is always white with another colour whereas plaid can be a mixture of many colours.The lines in gingham are the same size, while plaid has lots of different sized lines.Gingham is also a checked pattern, but the checks are even-sized.
This SS17, Young London-based designer Hannah Weiland(who is well known for her beautifully crafted pieces) used gingham in her ballooning dresses and oversized clutches, to portray an air of femininity, but with a distinct contemporary edge.
Then of course who can possibly forget Herrera’s gorgeous gingham evening gowns. The beautiful shoulder-less dress, wrapped at the bust, in a graphic black-and-white gingham was certainly too glamorous to allude to female repression and would certainly look out of place in the kitchen.
Antonio Marras – one of my favourite designers – used gingham in his menswear and womenswear collections, both blown up and sized down and mixed with silk printed flowersand torn netting - definitely enough to blow out the cobwebs of any remaining negative childhood associations with the fabric.
Taken from original article for La Provincia 09th June