Checks & Balance: Classic and traditional gingham has gone daring and sexy

Designers have given gingham a makeover with figure-flattering, playful silhouettes
It’s hip to be square, and the latest trend on the docket is the gingham print. From being termed a sartorial chameleon, grown-up ginghams have gotten a sophisticated makeover with designers across the big blue marble seizing upon it to create something daring and sexy — a big feat for a fabric that is often described as classic and traditional. Even with numerous iterations, gingham’s latest manifestation is the most enticing one yet. So this season, forget everything you know about ginghams and take the revamped fabric for a test drive!
Paris-based fashion designer Cameron Kham avers, “Gingham isn’t a fabric historically associated with particularly avant-garde or boundary-breaking styles but courtesy glam dolls like Brigitte Bardot who gave gingham the highest honour by donning the pink chequered pattern at her wedding to French actor Jacques Charrier — it stirred up such a storm on her special day that it caused a national shortage of the fabric in France! Audrey Hepburn and several others made it a big trend in the ’60s. It therefore has a simultaneously retro and modern feel today. Designers everywhere are interestingly countering the traditionally whimsical feel of ginghams with figure-flattering silhouettes and strategic flashes of skin, giving them a burst of modern energy. It is almost as though we were re-imagining the picnic print on a sultry evening gown, ideal for the modern day bombshell.”
Amalgamating Indian elements into the European pattern is also one of the options available, says designer Rajesh Pratap Singh. He adds, “Gingham is a strong statement and with ikat as a weave, it can make for a great head-to-toe ensemble. As a designer, I have tried to achieve ginghams via tie and dye as well as handwoven techniques. The textiles have broken weaves and checks have been arrested in places to give them an interesting twist. Monochrome gingham or indigo are classic and one can never go wrong with them.”
Designer Deepika Govind, on the other hand, talks about the varied sizes of the checks. She shares, “The new gingham is ever so slightly eccentric and decidedly imperfect. Playing with the size of the checks is a way to achieve a more flirtatious and coquettish look. Besides, frock style gingham dresses, chequered trousers, cotton jackets and playful crop tops with colourful ginghams also work great. If you are planning on going bold, then opt for a head-to-toe gingham ensemble or stick to either a heavy chequered top or playful gingham bottoms.”
Designer Hema Kaul suggests, “Don’t be afraid of mixing prints. The cool thing about the gingham print is that it’s bold but not overpowering — just like leopard prints. It can be mixed and matched with different patterns and textures without coming off as too outlandish.” Designer Shruti Sancheti agrees and concludes, “Since this year is also the year of green and sustainable fashion, you can go for eco-friendly fabrics like organic cotton, khadi, hemp, etc. and sport the organic look with unusual coloured gingham checks like brick red, slate, canary yellow, blush, turquoise and more.”
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