Sunday, 16 October 2011


In 1939, Miss Dorothy Gale danced down the yellow brick road in blue and white gingham, in the form of a pinafore dress, accompanied with red ribbons and pigtails, and of course those famous ruby slippers.

Ever since, gingham has been associated with all things happily ever after, the uniform for fairytale heroines. But please don’t limit your imagination to matching gingham with skipping through forests, gingerbread men and eating curds and whey.

The appeal of gingham transformed in the late 1950’s when French sex kitten Brigette Bardot dressed herself in the mischievous checks on a number of occasions, including on her wedding day. Low cut, nipped in at the waist and full skirts. Bardot done the deed and the sugary sweet gingham became seductively saucy.

Christopher Kane captured Bardot’s Lolita style in Spring/Summer 2010 as he showcased a collection constructed in gingham, in sugar mouse pink, baby blue and lemony yellow. Kane juxtaposed the dainty colour palette with structured bodices and slits up skirts. Very ooh la la indeed.

Rewind time to the 17th century to the creation of gingham. Originally, the fabric was in fact, striped. It wasn’t until the mid 18th century, far away in the mills in Manchester that checks were finally spun to make gingham what we recognize it to be today.

Once again the Spring/Summer catwalks have been injected with a hit of gingham. Sheer and shiny at Marc Jacobs, vintage inspired at Jil Sander and even tailored in black and white at Alexander McQueen’s menswear.

Despite its innocent charm, gingham still has the ability to be both prim ‘n’ proper and deliciously raunchy. However, be careful not to overdose on the sickly sweet fabric to avoid looking like a pair of cutesy cottage curtains. Take on board little darling Goldilocks’ strategy, test out the amount of gingham before you wear, to make sure you get it just right.