Bunting, Scallops & Fans: Common Elements of Design

As the Fourth of July holiday weekend arrived, I noticed buildings
adorned with bunting and flying the American flag. Bunting is exuberantly fun
and festive, especially when rendered in the patriotic red, white and blue of
Old Glory.

When I think of bunting, I think of a particular shape. In common
parlance, the term “bunting” often refers to lengths of fabric “gathered and
draped into swags or pleated into fan shapes.” Yet the fan shape has a completely
different connotation from that of bunting. The fan shape is elegant and a bit
flirtatious, a reminder of an accouterment carried by women of different
cultures over the centuries and used to cool themselves in the heat.  

The shape that comes to my mind when I think of bunting is not
so much a fan as a scallop design, typically seen in the edging of a garment or
other design. The scallop shape is refined yet sweet and feminine in its
curves. The nuance of the design of scallops goes far beyond that of the
bivalve mollusk from which the design gets its name.  

The three design motifs  – bunting, scallop and fan – are similar in
shape, and yet each conveys a different message. With that in mind, it has been
interesting to trace the use of the scallop shape in fashion over the last few
months and into this summer.

Back in November 2011, Elle
magazine started things off with a trend report entitled “Half Moon” with
the commentary “Look the part of Anna Karina in Alphaville with scallop details and glamour-girl must-haves.” Inspired
by the look of a character in the black-and-white 1965 French science fiction
film, Elle pictures runway looks from
Valentino, Chanel, Marc Jacobs and Christian Dior, the latter accompanied by a
cuff bracelet. Accessories shown consist of shoes by Marc Jacobs, eyewear from
Gymboree, and a detailed handbag from Judith Leiber, but no other jewelry is

The March 2011 issue of Lucky
magazine featured Japanese pop art-inspired fashion, including scallop-trim
shorts from Disaya, a scalloped blouse from H&M, and a dress with creative
uses of scallop designs from Holly Fulton, although no jewelry is pictured. Relating
the shape to Japanese pop art is yet another association for the scallop

The April 2011 issue of Vogue
takes another tack, discussing the “Ripple Effect”:  “Soft, scalloped waves edged tiers and
trains, imbuing the sartorial set with sense of delicacy and femininity.”
Pictured are Hailee Steinfeld in Marc Jacobs, Michelle Williams in Balenciaga,
Mia Wasikowska in Miu Miu, and Giovanna Battaglia in Valentino. Williams wears
a charm bracelet; Battaglia wears what appears to be cameo earrings plus a wide

The May 2011 issue of Lucky
magazine suggests that readers “Create a delicate, whimsical mood with
scalloped edges and a paperbag waistline.” The blouse with scallop-edged
sleeves is from Club Monaco; the skirt is from Anthropologie, the sandals are
by Tory Burch, and the wavy edge striped straw hat is from Echo. The model
wears a spinel and brass ring from Annieband.com.

An ad for Dillard’s in the June 2011 issue of Lucky pictures a scalloped edge blouse
from Gianni Bini worn with shorts and satchel from that designer, the satchel
displaying fan-shaped detail. The model wears an unidentified petite pendant as
well as a square-shaped ring.

The July 2011 issue of Marie
pictures 13-year-old actress Elle Fanning in several ensembles
featuring the scallop shape. Here she appears in a top and scallop collar from
Louis Vuitton worn with polka-dot mesh gloves from Carolina Amato.

In this photo from Marie
, Fanning wears a scallop-detail cardigan from Dior with a chunky
bracelet from House of Flora. The pattern of the bracelet picks up the rhythm
of the scallop design.

With my subscription July 2011 issue of Elle magazine, I received a supplementary booklet from the Jewelry
Collection of Tous, the Spanish design house, entitled “Tous and Jennifer Lopez
present the new jewelry collection 2011: 
A journey through Japan, China and India.” The photograph promoting the Loto
collection in gold and mother-of-pearl shows Jennifer Lopez modeling several
pieces of jewelry from the collection, each with a scalloped edge design. Lopez
carries a fan, bringing together beautifully in one photograph the related design
motifs of fans and scallops.