Gingham checks go upscale


Brigitte Bardot would love it. This summer, gingham, the fabric Miss Bardot made famous in the 1950s, is back in style again with 1991 additions.

In Miss Bardot's heyday photographs of the actress cavorting about in St. Tropez looking adorable in gingham dresses and kerchiefs made this lowly checked cotton, usually reserved for kitchens, a hot fashion. Now several designers have revived the pattern, for day and night, often printing it on denim and adding stretch fibers.

The most eye-catching are those by Azzedine Alaia. He has blown up the checks and stamped them on skin-clinging denim or cotton knits liberally laced with Lycra.

There are leggings, shorts, teenyweeny miniskirts, sawed-off sleeveless tops, cropped jackets and brassieres to wear in public. All you need is the fittest of figures and ample cash. (Alaia styles start at $600.) Barneys New York has the whole collection, as well as Donna Karan's scoop-neck stretch-cotton gingham dress, at $345.

But there is gingham out there for everyone. Cute 50s-inspired cotton and Lycra styles by Tapemeasure are at Bloomingdale's. The leggings, at $46, are best sellers. Sans stretch, but neat and trim, are a Liz Wear tank top for $46 with matching black-and-white Bermuda shorts for $42. These, at Macy's, make the point that gingham is patterned for the more conservative as well as for those with a -- of flash.

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