I first caught a glimpse of this head-turning print from Zinke‘s debut swim collection at a trade show last summer and, as JLo would say, got instant goosies.
Bright, busy and colorful, Zinke’s chevron pattern is a magnet for eyeballs; I was probably 50 feet away when I spotted it on a rack crowded with other Z-goodies.
I had two questions: where did it come from, and would women (especially American women) go for something so startlingly showy?
Well, let’s put that second one to rest first. Zinke‘s chevron is the coolest (and hottest) print of the summer, and not just for the beach crowd. It’s selling like crazy and some styles are disappearing fast.
The reason for its instant success? The NYC indie label was smart enough to use the print on a number of casualwear pieces suitable for a variety of occasions and locations. By the end of summer 2012, you will have likely seen this everywhere.
In addition to one-piece and bikini swimsuits, variations of the print are featured in the Port cover-up/dress, the Saturdays sleeveless dress and the adorable Daytripper romper available at Anthropologie. And the colorways come in a few variations that emphasize one of the several competing hues in the print’s palette — go for the lobster red for a bold statement, or the powdery blue or popsicle pink for something softer.
Where it comes from is another, less obvious, question. It’s not like other isometric chevron prints (widely seen in apparel and lingerie fashions this year), but it has some familiar echoes.
Although Zinke likely didn’t mean it, this print immediately reminded me of early-century stained glass, when multi-colored chevron panels were used oh-so-sparingly as accents (right).
But that’s just one of many reference points here.
Zinke’s approach to chevrons is a hypnotic mashup of art deco color strips, Missoni-esque zig-zags and even a bit of geeky fractals. You can see a hint of Frank Lloyd Wright in there, but the distressed edging on the color strips is purely post-modern. I would suggest they hang this in MoMA, but I’m afraid it would trigger seizures.
For her part, designer Jessie Zinke offers a simpler explanation: “I wanted to do a print that was modern and graphic but nothing too symmetrical,” she said. “If a pattern is too perfect, I tend to get a little bored with it.”
Zinke likes to take inspiration from real Americana, and the swim collection is no different from their lingerie collections in that respect. The styles (especially the flounce bikini top) are meant to evoke 60s California while the creamy palette “has a bit of a Palm Springs feel to it.”
Here’s a look at how Zinke has put its groovy chevron pattern to use in this collection. The range is reportedly flying off the shelves and some styles are no longer available on the Zinke webshop, so check with their retail partners.