Haute Historian: Tartan – The Forever Trend

December 30, 2013 • Haute Historian, Magazine


We can all recognize them – the checked pattern, the interlocking stripes which comes in a variety of colors. The most common combination is  bold red with black stripes and a thin stripe of yellow. They are tartans, and they never seem to go out of style. Tartans are a recurring fall and winter trend; in fact, they were all over the fall/winter 2013/2014 runways.

Tartan prints are a traditional Scottish way of dress – we all know about kilts! The pattern emerged in the 5th century by the Scoti tribe in Ireland. Later, the tribe would give Scotland its name. Tartans are more popularly known to be linked with the Celtic people, who lived in what is now Scotland. The weave began as a fairly basic pattern, but with time it took on different colors and additional stripes according to each clan. Traditionally, the number of stripes indicated a person’s rank, while the color of the pattern symbolized where the person was from.

Tartan has become popularized as a classic over the past 200 years. Plaid, which is often interchanged with the term “tartan,” can be seen everywhere – from the streets of beach towns to the fall/winter 2014 runways of Celine, Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs and more. Alexander McQueen’s “Highland Rape” runway show in 1995, which naturally featured the pattern, ultimately launched his career. Tartans have played a big part in fashion movements, appearing on Victorian-era clothes and the grunge styles of the 1990s.

With its classic look and ability to adapt to different trends, it looks like the tartan is here to stay.

1. Highlander in Tartan

2. Chanel’s Metiers d’Art Spectacular in December 2012

3. Tartan Tights

4. Alexander McQueen’s Fall/Winter 1995/1996 Highland Rape Collection

5. Marc by Marc Jacobs Fall 2013 Collection

– Tanisha Wallis

Image Layout: Second City Style

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