Listen up ladies, it’s time to swipe right on stripes. SS17 paraded verticals and horizontals in every way imaginable: we saw the monochrome, the graphic and the colourful come down the catwalks, and now it’s time for you, too, to get in line.
An unwavering fashion favourite, stripes have a rich and varied history – they can conjure up the image of a convict or a gangster, a sailor or a businessman. Bayadère stripes, horizontal and brilliantly coloured, were made famous by the dancers in Marius Petipa’s 1877 ballet of the same name about an Indian temple dancer who wore clothes with stripes of varying thickness in a multitude of colours. The pinstripe, meanwhile, came about in the 19th century via the suits of bank workers, as a kind of city uniform, each bank identifying itself with a different stripe.
Stripes have, of course, always been synonymous with the French, starting with the uniforms of the revolutionaries of 1789. We associate the design with dreamy holidays on the Côte d'Azur, with Saint James, the brand that has been manufacturing its famous Breton T-shirts since 1889, and with Coco Chanel, who included it in her 1917 Nautical Collection. Since then, everyone from Jean Seberg to Brigitte Bardot has been photographed in stripes, while French designer Jean Paul Gaultier is well known for his marinière aesthetic.
So with such a long history, how were stripes imagined for SS17? Miu Miu presented us with a '70s-striped retro swimmer girl, complete with shower cap and flip flops, Givenchy’s electric stripes spread across ruffles and sheer fabrics, and Fendi and Proenza Schouler served us bold graphic stripes in clashing colours. Mary Katrantzou’s psychedelic stripes tricked the eye, while Balenciaga's Demna Gvasalia reworked the classic striped shirt in a flurry of pussy bows and cinched-in waists, pairing it with a skintight pinstripe trouser.