Bold, colourful,rebellious, elegant, with a dash of retro, and the most popular pattern of the moment -stripes
Almost every season we see stripes on the runway and the Spring Summer 16 collections are no different, but it w
asn’t always like this. Stripes have come a long way from being the most unpopular to the most loved pattern.
The first mention of stripes was in the 13th century. During the Middle Ages stripes were mostly horizontal, and mainly worn by prostitutes, jugglers, clowns, hangmen and prisoners. The pattern was seen as evil, especially ones in bright colours and they were often referred to as “devil’s cloth”. Striped clothing was really rare until the 18th century but then during the American revolution stripes were everywhere, but not just on clothes.
The real breakthrough happened during 19th Century, when Queen Victoria dressed her son in a sailor suit to go on a yacht and also in Franz Xaver Winterhalter’s painting which depicted a boy wearing a marine jacket. After that, in 1858, French sailors embraced the white and blue knit shirt as their uniform with 21 stripes (each one symbolising Napoleon’s victories). Later that type of striped shirt would get the name Breton from the Breton Movement in Brittany, France.
Stripes got into high-fashion when Coco Chanel saw a Breton striped shirt during her trip to the French riviera and started selling them in her shop. After this point stripes became in vogue amongst different groups from artists, and movie stars to musicians.
During the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s stripes became a rebellious and hipster pattern and were worn by the Beat Generation, musicians like The Beatles, Bob Marley, actors James Dean and Marilyn Monroe and everyone else who questioned authority.
Over the course of time stripes evolved and now it’s not just about Breton.Nowadays we can see several types of stripes on skirts, dresses, coats and trousers. Nautical stripes, as the most popular, are associated with Breton and seaside and we can see them on sailors or Venetian gondoliers, rugby stripes-wide and usually brightly coloured, originally used in sports, chevron – zigzag, military inspired stripes and candy stripes just to name a few.
Many designers featured this popular pattern in their SS 16 Collections including Dolce and Gabbana’s 40’s , Marc Jacobs’s American and Ralph Lauren’s sailors inspired pieces. Everyone agrees that stripes are big now.
One of the many designers to adopt stripes is Tommy Hilfiger. He was inspired by the beaches and crystal blue seas of the caribbean using a palette of colours inspired by reggae legend Bob Marley. Coral red, emerald
green, yellow and blue inspired by the beaches and the 70’s look noticeable in
using crochet fabric. The most recognisable Marley pieces were stripy knitted bucket hats in rainbow colours accompanied by stripy net vests made to look like long beach coverups.Collection was a mix of boho, young and sporty with horizontal and vertical colourful stripes in dresses, bikinis, skirts and shorts.
Another designer who featured stripes was Elie Saab. Still keeping his well known feminine silhouette, he gave a young vibe to his new collection by using bold stripes and 70’s inspired garments such as bow ties, balloon sleeves and disco jumpsuits.
He used horizontal wide stripes in bold and bright colours including purple, pink, red and deep green in dresses,shirts and a bomber jacket. But he also used a more conventional vertical design with thin black and white stripes pairing them with floral patterns in long dresses, jumpsuits and capes.
Missoni,known for knitwear design in brightly coloured and chevron-stripes this season also stayed faithful to the house’s trademark.Inspired by the Maasai tribe of Africa, Angela Missoni presented a sporty and jet set, breezy look by using vibrant stripes on almost every piece, including Converse and making the runway into carousel of colour.
Chaos in the form of stripes in all directions and dimensions and flowy garments made the silhouette look long and slim.
It is for sure that stripes are a pervasive pattern in fashion and part of every woman’s wardrobe. Even though stripes can be hard to wear, in most cases they can be used for flattering the figure. Stripes can make you look skinnier, taller, give you waist or add curves to your body. Stripes are probably the only pattern accepted by both men and women, young and old because of their ability to comprehend with every style and print. This is the main reason why they have been popular in the fashion world for more than 100 years and will continue to be for many more.