Friday, 16 October 2009

Seeing Checks

My bedroom is decorated with multicoloured gingham bunting, and my friends' birthday presents usually come tied up with checked pink or green ribbon. I love gingham. It probably comes from my mum; we have checked tea towels and gingham trimmed curtains in our kitchen, and her friends call her Doris Day.

When I saw Christopher Kane's spring summer '10 collection, my heart leapt for joy. Next summer not only will I be able to decorate my life with this pattern, but Christopher Kane has deemed it cool to dress myself in it too. Although it made perhaps its most famous appearance in the form of Dorothy's cute blue apron in the 1939 film of the Wizard of Oz, gingham is back for 2010.

But it has grown up. For starters the tiny squares of Dorothy's dress have become larger checks (what I think of as picnic blanket gingham), becoming less ditsy and more graphic. Take the lingerie references: silk bras peeking beneath sheer fabric, thigh high skirt slits and underwiring and corset details worked into the dress itself, and you have yourself a grown up girl's reinvention of gingham.

Gingham has had a long association with America, and it became one of the most popular fabrics in the states during the 1940s. Christoper Kane was not the only designer to hone in on a typically American fabric for their latest collections; Ralph Lauren's spring 2010 show focused on denim, and a celebration of American style.

I remember when I was younger, summer would always be signalled by a trip to Marks & Spencer to buy a green gingham summer dress, and white socks with a matching green gingham ruffle. Let's hope Christopher Kane's gingham filters through to Topshop in the form of a little shift or sun dress, and I will be snapping it up for next summer's uniform.
The dress above is my absolute favourite of Christopher Kane's designs. To me it is a perfect take on gingham, the t-shirt style top half makes it laid back and not insanely girly, the lingerie detailing is quirky and 2010, but the blue gingham skirt remembers gingham's floaty, summery roots. I am actually in love...

Looking at all these gingham dresses made me so cheery that in a burst of happiness and Libbyness I wrote a poem.

Poem to Gingham

Pastel shade bunting all hung in the trees,
Bright rainbow ribbons that twist in the breeze,
Ruffles on socks that we once wore to school,
Teacups and picnics with raspberry fool,
Pigtails and checks and Dorothy pretty,
I'm dreaming of the Emerald City.


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