Thinking of the tartan trend, our thoughts immediately wander to the Scottish Kilts or the heavy wool plaid blankets.
Created in the 3rd century B.C., it has always been linked to the most ancient families of the Scottish Highlands. Since then, the kilt, the Scottish skirt worn by men and traditionally made with tartan fabrics, has been a symbol of the noblest values of Scottish culture: nobility, pride, and elegance.
As a sign of a dandy attitude, it reappeared in the swinging and eccentric England in the late Sixties. The red background was replaced by yellow and green, blue and purple, on over-sized coats, with or without belt, made of angora wool or other materials: a classic piece, always tinged with a posh vibe.
In the Seventies it was reclaimed by the punk movement, which made it its own and gave it an opposite value: plaid as social protest. Since then, its unconventional version is an anti-establishment symbol of urban subcultures.
The tartan mania – in different forms – also characterized the early years of the 80’s: tartan connected to punk, with zips and chains; tartan on wool college-girl skirts echoing a not so innocent mood; plaid blazers with strong shoulders, or plaid prints on the organza dress with side bow. In the world of music, Boy George and Cindy Lauper (the pop side of the New Wave) added lots of plaid to their outfits.
Tartan connected to music takes us to another journey: during the Nineties, tartan embodied the grunge aesthetic. Lumberjack plaid shirts were worn by Nirvana’ Kurt Cobain and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.
In recent years Tartan has made the ultimate comeback in the fashion world. What in Scotland was solely a design on one’s kilt, has now become a world of its own in high-end fashion.
1. Burberry fall winter 2016/17 look
2. Vivienne Westwood fall winter 2016/17 look
3. Photo by Tim Walker, 2008
4. Backstage at Le Kilt fall winter 2016/17
5. Capt. Alwyne and Mrs Frances Farquharson, 1952
6. MSGM tartan plaid top
7. Matthew Barney in “Cremaster 3”
8. Photo by Juergen Teller, 1995
9. “Tartan Ribbon”: the first colour photographic image by James Clerk Maxwell, 1861
10. Alexander McQueen by David Bailey
11. Joshua Sanders bow tartan slip-on sneakers
13. Cher & Dionne from “Clueless” tv serie