The humble cherry has always been an iconic symbol of 1940s kitsch, reproduction adornments, fabric, household items from this time are festooned with the little red spherical fruits, 40s fashion-lovers cover themselves in cherry designs, either as clothing and jewelery or as tattoo ink. It has remained synonymous with the decade without debate.
The last, and most plausible reason for 'why cherries?' that I have discovered during my research into this unfathomable question, is the Anglo-Japanese and American-Japanese alliances of the early 20th century. Whilst the country was still in deep depression, Western society embraced Oriental culture and its influences. Designers such as Callot used Chinese design for inspiration, loving the shapes and cuts and their use of symbolic references in their imagery, including cherries. The Chinese referred to cherries as 'the fruit of heaven,' and believed that they represented the fleetingness of life, it is even said that Japanese Samurai warriors would use cherries as a symbol to illustrate their readiness to die. Maybe Western designers, such as Martha Gale, didn't approach the symbolism from the exactly the same perspective, but the creations and textiles they produced utilised and manipulated the images to create stunning and contemporary designs.