When you think of tartan, you probably imagine bagpipe players and kilts. Its time to banish that stereotype as this winter, tartan isn’t only for kilt wearing bagpipe players, as we see plenty of plaid making its way down from the highlands and onto the streets. Chunky lumberjack checks included, tartan is set to add a much needed brightness to the darkness of some of the other winter trends. With fashion icons such as Agyness Deyn and Kelly Osbourne already sporting tartan, it’s set to be one of winter’s hottest looks – but go overboard and you could end up looking like a tin of shortbread!
Showing on the catwalks of Just Cavalli, House Of Holland and Ralph Lauren, the checks are sure to bring a tear to any Scot’s eye. This winter’s look is far more daring than last year, stretching far past the bog-standard tartan print shirt and knee-high socks. It will see you wearing tartan dresses, skirts, jackets and full suits (for the brave) in a palette of clashing colours such as electric blue and eye-catching yellow. Dries Von Noten, Karen Walker, Alexander McQueen and Thakoon have also taken checks aboard.
One of my favourite Autumn 08-09 collections was that of the infamous Henry Holland. His collection boasted many tartan pieces, including a vibrant purple tartan suit and purple tartan skirts.
The pièse de resistance and the climax of the show was Agyness, purple tartan eye patch firmly in place, decked out head to toe in a strapless, tiered, purple tartan bridal gown, featuring an additional rainbow-coloured veil secured with a super-sized pair of antlers.
Meanwhile, HRH Elizabeth II, Queen of England, seems to be the unlikely muse of designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana (D&G).
Their collection also showed off their plaid with a traditional red tartan in the form of dresses and frill embellished coats. It was evident that tartan dominated the looks, with rich red and blue designs skilfully mismatched, leaving fashionistas worldwide anticipating the release of the glorious tartan tights. Alexander McQueen has also sent off his contribution by including greyscale checks in his collection. Luella has some fabulous boyfriend style single check shirts while Matthew Williamson combines different coloured check materials in one dress for an exciting, bold look.
But tartan is most definitely not a new thing. Designer heavyweight, Vivienne Westwood, has incorporated tartan into her collections so much that she is famous for it. In 1993, she created a new tartan plaid and launched a new collection called Anglomania. She called the tartan "MacAndreas" in honour of her husband, Andreas Kronthaler. Tartan dresses and kilts for men are among the tartan innovations Westwood is known for.
The high street is already starting to show signs of the tartan and check explosion with some great pieces which will make the beginnings of a bright winter wardrobe. Topshop is particularly pioneering the style.
Checks have been hanging around for a while but this winter we see a shift from girly shirt dresses in pinks and pastels and a move towards mannish ‘my boyfriend cuts down trees for a living’ style shirts. The new way to wear tartan? Mix and match multiple checks. Vivid plaids, shot through with violet, emerald, turquoise and orange give the trend youthful spin.
Will you keep it simple by making tartan the statement piece of your outfit? Or be daring by accentuating your outfit with different tartan pieces and styles? Don’t go overboard but if you want to be on trend this winter, invest in something tartan and give your salute to Scotland!
Photos courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.