NEW YORK | Plaids are having a fashion moment as retailers and designers play with the classic pattern. But the apparel and footwear industries are sharing the love: Fresh takes on plaid have made headway in housewares and home decor, too.
“The great thing about plaid is that you can take it in so many different directions,” said Kristen Chalupa, a kitchen and tabletop product manager for Crate & Barrel.
Through scale, color and application, plaids can be complex and traditional, or simplified for a clean, updated look, she said.
“There’s something very recognizable and nostalgic about plaid,” Chalupa said.
Her company went for nostalgia but also took a more modern approach in recent offerings, with updated plaids in table linens and such kitchen items as an oven mitt, pot holder, apron and dishtowel in a matching pattern of bright red, green, yellow and blue.
A wide plaid with a metallic shimmer was on sale there in Christmas wrapping paper, a plaid throw in Christmas red and green was called “Cratchit,” and Crate & Barrel also built a crosshatched plaid into the handcrafted iron wire front of a mid-century-influenced fireplace screen.
Target went “mad for plaid” in a variety of ways, including a limited-edition collaboration with sportswear designer Adam Lippes in mostly apparel and accessories, playing on the classic buffalo design. The retailer also offered some unlikely items such as special-issue Chapstick sets of three lip balms and plaid-decorated bottles of Listerine mouthwash in yellow, green and blue.
“Plaid has been a defining element of style for every generation,” said Amy Goetz, a Target spokeswoman. “Offering it across different categories allows our guests to experience that element of surprise as they browse throughout the entire store.”
Both classic and contemporary plaids are plentiful throughout the retail universe in couches, curtains and bedding, but also for Christmas tree ornaments, in deer shapes of orange and black on throw pillows, and in non-traditional color schemes that include soft pinks. Ugg Australia sells a calming glacier plaid in soft wool, in blue, white and light tan with fringe at one hem just down from a decorative three-button closure.
Pinterest is awash with ways to decorate a home using plaid, including wallpaper in red to anchor a cozy, book-filled study, and building a plaid design in contemporary bathroom or kitchen wall tile.
The design need not scream rustic, country or all things Scotland. Grahambrown.com offers a thoroughly modern take on plaid in a charcoal-and-white wall covering that lends a more sophisticated air against a white floor and contemporary white easy chair.
Other sightings of creative uses for plaid:
ISAAC MIZRAHI: The designer sells on QVC, and recently sold out of a ceramic, pedestal cake plate with a set of matching plates in bold preppy designs of green and blue.
TERVIS: A springy plaid called poppy was used on double-wall Fiesta plastic wrap tumblers in two sizes: 16 and 24 ounces. A set of highball glasses at Fitz and Floyd were designed in a contemporary, minimalist take on plaid.
RALPH LAUREN: Plaid is alive and well for apparel and for the home at Ralph Lauren. A red tartan was used for a porcelain cup-and-saucer set trimmed in gold, along with dinnerware in the same pattern. A rustic plaid of red, black and gray inspired by a vintage Ralph Lauren blanket was carried over to napkins and placemats in woven linen. The company also put a similar vintage-inspired plaid in wool on a picture frame.
WILLIAMS-SONOMA: Tartan was also paired here, but in chrome, for picture frames in red and blue. The traditional plaid also adorns everything from mugs and tabletop runners to pillow covers and a Christmas stocking. One modern take on plaid is a hand-woven, hair-on cowhide pillow cover in broad red and black stripes against a white background.