Thursday, 16 June 2016

Summer Check List. Gingham Style

Gingham is back, it did have a resurgence on the catwalks in Spring 2015 and is now on trend for 2016. This crisp, fresh looking fabric has been popular throughout the decades but more recently embraced by lovers of all things vintage. Art and craft workers favour it for up-cycling projects hand-made accessories and embellishments on aprons, bed linen, bunting, cushions, quilts, tablecloths and can be seen adorning homes, gardens, shops, festivals and summer fetes.

There seems to be a difference of opinion as to where it originates but from the mid-eighteenth century it was being produced in the mills of Manchester. My ancestors had a cotton mill up North so it would be great to think they might well have manufactured Gingham there. As a Grammar School girl in Manchester our summer uniform dresses were made from Gingham. Each “House” had a different colour, normally blue, green, yellow and pink. I remember mine was Pink denoting the “House, Edgerton” I think, it was so long ago! 

It was a perfect fabric for kids outfits in the 50s. There wasn’t really any “Fashion” back then as it was just after the war, low wages meant there was always a shortage of money in normal households so everything was pretty utilitarian, nothing frivolous. Even so, it mattered that your kids looked smart and mums hand-made not only their own clothes but took great pride in making their children’s clothes, beautiful little girls dresses with round necks with or without collars, full skirts and puff sleeves. It was short sleeve shirts for the boys and romper suits for babies, blue for the boys and pink for the girls. Dresses, blouses, frilly aprons and pinafore dresses were individualised and embellished with lace or ribbon.  

The most famous Gingham pinafore dress was worn by Judy Garland’s character “Dorothy” in the 1939 film Wizard of Oz. She looked cute as a button in her milkmaid style pinafore and a white puff- sleeved blouse skipping down that Yellow Brick Road in her iconic red shoes. Other stylish glitterati of the day wore Gingham in many forms from frilly tiered skirts and cowboy shirts, strapless gowns and capri pants, shift dresses and shirt-waisters to head scarves.

The 'Check List' of stars toting the Gingham style included 40s Katherine Hepburn named as "the greatest female star of Classic Hollywood Cinema", 50s French sex symbol BB aka animal rights activist Bridgitte Bardot, 60s American actress and fitness guru Jane Fonda, not so dumb blonde screen goddess Marilyn Monroe, America's uber elegant wife of the 35th President of the United States, Jackie Kennedy and Academy Award Winning actress Goldie Hawn.

The swinging sixties mod culture embraced Gingham as seen on two of the super models of the day Jean Shrimpton and Pauline Stone. Most probably Twiggy also posed in a Gingham outfit or two. Let’s not forget the guys -  Gingham shirts with button down collars were 'de rigueur' for the original mods and are still popular today and available through heritage brands Ben Sherman and Original Penguin and more recently Liam Gallagher’s PrettyGreen.

Today the trend continues, Gingham is still in vogue as seen on celebrities and fashionistas including Taylor Swift, Victoria Jessica, Olivia Palermo, Reese Witherspoon, Kirsten Duntz, Kylie Minogue, Alexa Chung, Holly Willoughby, teeny Harper Beckham and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. (Article copyright PM Adams  16/6/2016)

 Check these off the list

Summer Check List - Gingham Style
Items featured available from Topshop
http://tidd.ly/4347df4

Marilyn Monroe Photographic Print
Marilyn Monroe Photographic Print available GB Posters

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