Tartan + Plaid Always Classic Always New
Fashion Trend Report by Nena Ivon, nenasnotes, Originally published exclusively for Randolph Street Market. Updated and edited post republished with permission of Sally Schwartz.
During the confinement for our Pandemic I have been pondering, along with others in the industry, the future of fashion, retail and, in particular, fashion shows. How will the industry pivot to be not only relevant but how to present fashion…virtually…in person…both or….! ?Many of the “big” names will sit out this week’s New York Fashion Week as well as the upcoming London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks. I’ll be glued to all sites to see what our creative minds have up their sleeves. Time for change, time for reinvention, time for major creativity in a time like no other. I can’t wait to see how technology will play into the scheme of things. In a world, (fashion), of self expression individuality and newness….what a once in a lifetime opportunity to make things exciting! I, for one, can not wait to see our new world through the eyes of the creative fashion powers that be! Stay tuned for my impressions of Spring 2021.
Now let’s talk about the durability of plaid as a classic pattern…one that we see year in and year out and always says Fall to me.
I asked, Jeffrey Banks, a true Renaissance Man…designer, lecturer, fashion historian, and esteemed author of several books, most recently NORELL: MASTER OF AMERICAN FASHION, the first monograph on the iconic designer, to share a paragraph on the pattern. I encourage you to get his book TARTAN: Romancing the Plaid, to further explore its fashion story.
“TARTAN is one of two perennial patterns that seemingly never goes out of Fashion. The other perennial is animal prints. They are both all-time classics. And although some seasons they are more dominate a theme than others they are never more than a season or two out of the limelight. Because tartan is classic, romantic, subversive, and even sometimes ironic, its appeal never fails to fascinate. And it is the one pattern that even print shy men seem to always embrace!” Jeffrey Banks.
Tartan is often misused for all plaid it is by definition, “A woolen cloth woven in one of several patterns of plaid, especially of a design associated with a particular Scottish clan.” There are over 4000 tartan plaids.
Of course, the first brand we think of is Burberry, established in 1879 by Thomas Burberry. They trench coat “Its name derived from the trenches where military personnel were stationed in WW1, the original Burberry trench coat was designed in 1912 by Thomas Burberry to keep officers protected against wind and rain.”
“Initially developed for the military, each feature on a trench coat has been specifically designed for a reason. The epaulettes were added to display the rank of the officers while the storm shield, found on the upper back, enabled water to run off the coat and keep the wearer dry. A pleat was also featured on the back which allowed for ease of movement when running or on horseback.”
*The distinctive plaid lining was added in 1920.
I’m sure, just as Levi Strauss would be in awe at how his denim, originally for workman’s overalls, has evolved into classic fashion, Thomas Burberry could not have predicted the International success a military coat would have!
No plaid, to my mind’s eye, is more recognized. It hasn’t changed until recently….let’s look at the traditional and some newer versions.
The Chicago flagship store on Michigan Avenue…..who knew, plaid architecture, brilliant marketing and a stunning addition to what is arguably the most diverse architectural city, Chicago, where modern architecture was born!
A book, of course…
From Alexander McQueen
Sarah Jessica Parker and Alexander McQueen wearing the official McQueen tartan at the Met’s Costume Institute gala for “Savage Beauty”.
Yves Saint Laurent Couture
Jean Paul Gaultier
To me plaid is always “in” as an accent, as an accessory, or as a complete outfit. It can be a traditional tartan or a new version of the classic Burberry plaid. It can be whimsical, think McQueen and Westwood, or line the classic trench coat that knows no gender. This season try it with a bit of leopard and what the heck a dash of a floral print, the point be confident in dressing and most of all have fun with your wardrobe styling!!!!
All photos from Pinterest photo credits unknown.
*Burberry quote from a Harrods editorial.