Monday, 24 May 2010

Kane-ing it in gingham

Vintage gingham dress, £57, The House of Avalon, York

York’s newest vintage shop, The House of Avalon (01904 622055) is a petite little parlour just round the corner from the City Art Gallery. It’s been open less than a month so the selection of clothes is not massive – but it's a carefully edited collection of choice pieces. Loved this red and white gingham dress (£57) for a rather bargainous nod to Christopher Kane. Silk paisley dressing gowns and kimonos, tea dresses and hats are all in good nick too. You can pick up a unique piece here for around the same price that you’d pay for a Topshop dress (less in many cases). The little tea room at the back is a fine spot for Earl Grey and fairy cakes in a quiet, unhurried atmosphere, and there are old films playing on the wall.

Christopher Kane, s/s 2010. Photo: Marcio Madeira for

The gingham dress stood out in particular because Christopher Kane has made this fabric hot again for summer 2010. But gingham can go either way: though cute and sexy and fresh when worn by Brigitte Bardot on the beach at St Tropez (and, let’s face it, in her heyday Bardot could make a binliner look a million dollars), it always reminds me too much of tablecloths. More specifically, the Gingham Kitchen in Doncaster where we’d go for egg and chips and banana milkshakes as kids – it was a riot of red and white check. And even if gingham doesn’t bring to mind your local Italian restaurant, it definitely harks back to unflattering school uniforms. So all credit to Kane for making it sexy and modern this season, with split gingham skirts and dresses (see above) that manage to be both demure and flirty. It’s no surprise that the high street’s taken note; look out for gingham shirts (£55) and bikinis by J Crew (at through to mini skirts at Topshop. Toast has a neat (though pricey at £99) little shift dress, Jaeger has everything from trousers to a wrap dress (on sale for £99), or try a subtle touch of the trend with a gingham scarf by NW3 at Hobbs (£35). Tablecloths ahoy!

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