style brick road: tartanomania.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


Did it become famous thanks to the Scots, Bradies, punks or the Westwoods?

Tartan (a criss-cross pattern presented as part of a family patrimonial, to discern from plaid which is the name for a piece of cloth) may be the print you think of when hearing that rhotic (and for some even erotic) accent, but from a fashion point of view – tartan was everything but Scottish.

Still, big part of its heritage belongs to the Islanders – Vivienne Westwood helped the Sex Pistols embrace their Punk nature, Alexander McQueen’s ‘Highland Rape’ collection is probably one of the most memorable points in fashion history. In 1995, his AW collection pushed every boundary there had existed – cultural shocks, the fact that rape was intertwined with fashion, and introduction of probably one of the most blatant yet fascinating moment – the bumster bottoms (LINK), where he exposed one’s buttcrack and (assumingly) elongated its bottoms. Quite dramatic, I must say.
Punk in Plaid: Vivienne Westwood // Malcolm McLaren - manager of The Sex Pistols // Naomi Campbell & Kristen McMenamy in Vogue, photo by Steven Meisel, styled by Grace Coddington, 1992
Lee McQueen's 'Highland Rape' collection, 1995
Monty Pyton is the comedy show I’ll probably always love to watch – just because it’s wacky, but in a stupidly intelligent way. Or so I’d like to think. ‘The Lumberjack Song(LINK) performed in 1969 was yet another take on the tartan shirt, in that classic red flannel  - a quite perfectly historical TV moment.  i still believe my huge flannel-shirt collection was heavily influenced by the funny guys from MP I loved to watch back in my childhood. Speaking about major screen moments, the casually fabulous Brady Bunch wore tartan throughout the series, and that awfully busy material also had a major role in one of my favourite childhood movies – ‘The Brady Bunch’ from 1995. Talk about print-mix moments!
'The Lumberjack Song', Monty Python, 1969
my not-so-secret tartan flannel shirt stash
'The Brady Bunch' movie tartan extravaganza, 1995
In these days of ‘the more the merrier’ opposite ‘black is the new black’, tartan is still having major moments in fashion – Moschino A/W 2013 was a big ol’ scottish tartan extravaganza, Uniqlo always does a fabulous job presenting their patterned designs, and many menswear designers introduced it in numerous different and quite modern ways. The latest I love to death is the Marc by Marc Jacobs Prefall 2014 – that oversized green-blue tartan combo is literally making me cringe. In the best way possible
Tartan designs are definitely not unpopular on various red carpets – my favourite looks include Emma Watson in McQ and Hamish Bowles in McQueen. Talk about a dedicated look. Met Gala had 2 plaid moments in the last 3 years – 2011 with the McQueen exhibition/theme, and the last one – Punk: Chaos to Couture were both perfect chances for some tartan deployment.
Moschino Autumn/winter 2013 all-tartan collection
Westwood still uses Tartan as her signature material
Uniqlo stylishly uses plaid in both adult & children advertising
Menswear tartany looks: Marc by Marc Jacobs Pre-fall 2014 // James Long x Topman sweater // Vivienne Westwood Autumn/Winter 2011 // Givenchy Spring/Summer 2010
Red Carpet - Red Tartan: Sarah Jessica Parker & Alexander McQueen in Alexander McQueen // Hamish Bowles in Alexander McQueen // Emma Watson in McQ  // Christina Ricci in Vivienne Westwood // Tommy & Dee Hilfiger in Tommy Hilfiger
Just so we're clear, Croatian designers aren't falling far ahead - we have are own tartan royalty! Zoran Aragovic and his BiteMyStyle brand are probably the most popular for the use of tartan in his designs, and afraid of mixing the prints up or going full on - he ain't! Two more designers that decided to play with my favourite print were Sonja Lamut (yes, once again) and the talented Juraj Zigman. For Sonja, there were those retro moments that reminded of those fabulous disco clothes in the 70's, while Zigman made a tartan-by-tartan collection - mixing it in every way possible, with a spirit that kinda reminded of McQueen's Highland Rape.
Croatia x Scotland collab (never mind the football games): Juraj Zigman and his take on the Highland's // Zoran Aragovic for BiteMyStyle makes the classic red tartan all punky-punk // Sonja Lamut goes all 70's - Marcia Brady meets Abba
Finally, my take on tartan started off a bit rocky – I instantly went for my Doc Martens, buried behind a sea of shoes under my bed, wanting to take them out and premiere them for this season. Then I though how expected that was, and how punk is just a scratching of the whole tartan theme – mixing prints, a bit of Sherlock Holmes, 80’s shoulders and Brady Bunch colours. The punk is part of my soul. And my almost-existing beard.

YSL blazer_Margiela x H&M trousers_Tommy HilfigerAsos & Vintage tartan shirts_handmade postman cap from Belgrade_Giant Vintage eyeglasses_H&M shoes_Daniel Wellington watch

ps. Count how many times I wrote Tartan.

xx d.