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Vichy: the icon of the preppy style

The squares are repeated in the same size and in the same color and shading on a white background

Con il suo design bicolore semplice e classico, la camicia vichy è un'icona dello stile preppy. Si distingue dalla fantasia a quadretti disposti a scacchiera. I quadretti si ripetono nella stessa dimensione e nello stesso colore e ombreggiatura su sfondo bianco.

L'origine risale all'epoca denominata “età elisabettiana”. Durante il suo regno, Elisabetta I iniziò a porre le basi della futura potenza commerciale e marittima. Il tessuto venne importato dalla Malesia all'Inghilterra chiamandolo Gingham, rivedendo così il nome originale malese “Genggam” che significa righe. In quanto originariamente il tessuto era a righe.

From furniture to clothing: the most versatile fabric of all

In the seventeenth century in Manchester, England, the production of remnants in the checkered version for furniture began, with contrasts of pastel colors, white and blue or green and pink. The fabric is yarn-dyed, i.e. the threads used are already colored and woven in such a way as to form the squares. There is no right and wrong side of the fabric as the design is present on both sides. This peculiarity makes it a particularly convenient fabric.

During the reign of Napoleon III, in the French city of Vichy known for the manufacture of cotton products, the industrial production of this fabric with a check pattern for tablecloths, aprons, dresses and shirts begins.

For four centuries it has been one of the most versatile fabrics, with the simplest weave there is. It lends itself to numerous combinations, always dictating style and class. Initially loved much more by elegant bourgeois women, it was worn for outings by bicycle, walks by the sea or for sports. Soon this style was appreciated by most. In the summer months when Princess Sissi was resting in Possenhofe castle she loved to wear shirt dresses with vichy pattern. Duchess Alexandra of Kent used Vicky-patterned midi skirts to play tennis.

As reported above, the vicky pattern was initially much more popular with women.

Vicky fabric flies to Hollywood

Judy Garland in 1939 playing Dorothy in the famous film "The Wizard of Oz" wore a blue checked dress; the iconic Vichy cotton had already conquered the common imagination when, to wear it in a very long flounced skirt was Katharine Hepburn, in the 1949 film “Scandal in Philadelphia”.

But when we talk about vicky the pair par excellence is Brigitte Bardot. Beautiful in her white and pink checkered dress by Esterel, for her wedding to Jacques Charrier in 1959. Immortalized on the cover by Elle France, the actress later made it into a real uniform, often wearing two-tone mini yokes in many films and on the the beaches of Saint-Tropez. Until the 1960s, the vicky was rarely present in the male wardrobe. His rise begins when a young Sean Connery, in the film From Russia with Love (1963), wears a blue and white checked shirt.

He definitively established himself in the men's wardrobe in 1965, again thanks to the iconic Sean Connery (James Bond) in the movie Thunderball, when James organized a picnic on the beach wearing a pink vichy shirt with matching costume.

Since then, both in France and in Italy it has become a must, while in the United States it has become an icon of the preppy style, inspiring the Ivy League style. Sturdy, yet light, these features make it perfect for fine-tuning bon ton chic looks.

Today the vichy shirt is offered in a range of colors and checks of various sizes, and it's easy to find the right combination for any occasion or style.

For an Ivy League-inspired look, I recommend choosing a gingham pattern in traditional shades of blue and white, to be worn with khakis and a blazer.

As an alternative, I suggest an interesting diversification in monochrome style, wearing a jacket and a tie of the same shade of color on the shirt; the vichy motif will add depth you go to the clothing.

For a casual look, the vichy shirt will look great with a pair of shorts or distressed denim, a perfect match for the weekend.

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