A lifelong love affair with blue-and-white stripes prompted Mark D. Sikes to launch a sportswear collection devoted entirely the motif. Sikes was clearly on to something, considering Jane Birkin, James Dean and Pablo Picasso all made the timeless pattern their signature. So it came as no surprise that the label was warmly embraced by industry insiders from the first season on. The SS16 collection presents the portrait of an effortless summer day with airy, feminine pieces crafted from pure cotton. The dresses really shine this season; from those that lace up along the back (inspired by ballet) to an updated version of the bestselling Lee Dress, now with an elegant bateau neckline and flattering wide belt. Elsewhere, the cropped tops already have us plotting our next warm-weather escape, with their blousy peasant fit and off-the-shoulder silhouettes. The beauty of the collection is its ability to embrace the All-American appeal of stripes, while also creating pieces that feel more bohemian and free-spirited than traditionally preppy stripes. Sikes has convinced us: stripes are the new neutral.