No self-loving prepster would wear rags, naturally. However, it got me to thinking about where the hell Madras came from (I with hold my opinion on this print for the time being). So where do I go? Like any good Yale research student: Wikipedia.
The holy bible we call wikipedia sez:
Madras is a lightweight cotton fabric with patterned texture, used primarily for summer clothing -- pants, shorts, dresses and jackets. The fabric takes its name from the former English name of the city of Chennai, India.
One style popular during the 1960s was called bleeding Madras. It used dyes that were not colorfast in a typically plaid design, resulting in bleeding and fading colors that yielded a new look to the fabric each time it was laundered.
Apparently, madras is worn by Indians today, not just Rickshaw pullers, but also respectable women. Check out this blog for some more background on that: http://blogwithadifference.blogspot.com/2007/05/about-madras-by-madrasi.html
Hmmm so Madras is actually from India? And not only India, but CHENNAI. Chennai is the home to the Madras Institute of Fashion Technology. Likely not the home of J. Crew designers, but I bet they make a kickass Sari. Now, if you are as big of a fan as I am, Chennai is actually the musical and cultural capital of India--particularly the heart from where we get movies like Slumdog Millionaire. If you are a fan of "Jai Ho" like I am, Chennai and therefore Madras got a whole lot more attractive from just a pair of plaid rags put together and sold for $150 at J. Crew.
VANITY OF THE DAY:
This Michael Kors Madras dress has a cut that even I, who normally avoids Madras, adore. The psychological contrast between a pencil dress and madras is huge for me. Madras is normally for wrinkled pants, a J.Crew dress out of the suitcase, or a cropped jacket. Here, the sharp lines, the tight and edgy little bow take the print to a new level. Perhaps not true madras, it at least as the audacity to reinvent the name madras as its own--almost as daring as the cute little slit up the back.