Stripes: Reading Between the Lines

November 23rd, 2012


Fashion can be very telling of a person’s sense of style and donning stripes is no exception.  Stripes have long stood the test of time.  They have become synonymous with the yachting high life, and reminiscent of fashion icons such as Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn. ViX designer Paula Hermanny has always had a love affair with stripes.  She considers the pattern a classic look and her penchant for this timeless aesthetic was passed down from her elegant grandmother, Joana.

As a staple in Paula’s personal wardrobe, stripes have also become a mainstay of the ViX signature style.  Carried through season after season, the classic stripe has evolved from a wide range of reinventions: thin nautical lines to textured bands to a sophisticated pairing of colors—black with a subtler off-white.


Recognizable as both chic and refined, it’s hard to imagine that stripes were ever considered anything but.  Interestingly enough, Michel Pastoureau delves into the origin of stripes in his book, “The Devil’s Cloth: A History of Stripes and Striped Fabric.” In it, stripes were worn by outsiders, rebels even—those who were on the outskirts of medieval Europe’s social order.   During that period, solid colors were safe, quiet and familiar.  A contrasting surface—or print—in which the background and foreground were indistinguishable, was considered disturbing.  Hence, court jesters, convicts and prostitutes were often seen in stripes. 


Over time, this rarity became exotic and with the centuries passing, negative connotation gave way to curiosity.  Curiosity and freedom of expression lead to the acceptance of stripes, and inevitably a fashion craze.  Today, stripes are just as common as solids.  A banded ensemble no longer screams ‘jailbird.’  On the contrary, some versions, such as the banker’s pinstripe, are linked with wealth and status. 


Hence, stripes are here to stay, in a good way.  Perhaps Paula Hermanny gives us the ultimate one liner on the subject—“stripes are a classic look and always in style.”