Last season it was all about plaids and tartans, but for SS14, gingham takes the lead as the go-to check of the season.
Park nostalgia to one side and forget any picnic/country connotations, as gingham is going all grown-up for spring. Exaggerated prints strike a bold modern air as the time-honoured pattern is given an overhaul.
Balmain put a glam spin on the trend with monochromatic gingham on flirty kick out skirts, cropped trousers and bomber jackets, all styled with contrasting chunky gold jewellery to inject a hint of punk. Oscar De La Renta went contemporary with graphic ginghams while Derek Lam embraced classic cuts inspired by the 1960s for a touch of retro elegance.
The point of difference came in the styling which layered check on check. When it comes to everyday wear, give a sweet pink and white gingham smock dress a modern, boyish look by teaming with a leather biker jacket and a pair of Converse trainers.
Instantly update a conventional gingham shirt by styling with checked trousers in a contrasting, oversized pattern and a metallic court heel. Or channel a 1950's inspired look with a midi-skirt in gingham worn with a slogan print sweater, a dainty stack heel and a trophy necklace.
Q Help please! I'm with my boyfriend coming up to one year so this is our first anniversary together. It's the longest I've ever dated someone and he's very special to me. What on earth should I get him? I've a budget of €250.
Andrea (27), Cork
Darren says: The Ansley Watch Company is quite a unique Irish brand and ideal for gifting the man in your life. Their design ethos is based on an era when your timepiece was an integral part of everyday life. Each piece has a distinct vintage aesthetic, only with a decidedly modern twist. The 'Army Series' is a collection of sleek and sharp military inspired watches.
Featuring sapphire glass, Japanese quartz, and my personal favourite, a fine woven khaki strap (€149, ansleywatches.com). They're quite the subtle statement-makers. For something a little louder, the 'Sailor Series' is available with a brightly coloured black and mustard striped woven strap inspired by 1960s sailor style.
Another option is a pair of sunglasses, a practical yet refined gift that will see him covered for any winter sun we might enjoy and through the summer months, too. Tortoiseshell frames are a cool distinguished choice or if he's a low-key kind of guy, go for a classic black Ray-Ban Wayfarer (€152, Arnotts).
Footwear can be a bit of a gamble but I always think they make for a great present. Surprise him with a pair of trainers such as the Alexander McQueen Puma high-top trainers (€180, Brown Thomas). Just be sure to ask for a gift receipt!
Located on the ground floor of Powerscourt Townhouse, Knightsbridge Boutique is a luxurious haven of jewellery, accessories, shoes and bridal wear. Designer to the stars Johanna Johnson (who counts Christina Hendricks, Meryl Streep, Halle Berry and Jessica Alba among her clients), is the latest name to launch her collection in the store. Known for her sophisticated Hollywood glamour with a classic, timeless appeal, Johanna's designs are simple and graceful. A must-visit for any bride-to-be.
Knightsbridge Boutique, Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, South William Street, Dublin 2. Tel 01 636 3633