Tartan and Plaid Take Over Paris Fashion Week

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Commonly associated with preppy, punk, and grunge fashion, plaid is perhaps one of the most versatile patterns. At Paris Fashion Week, designers turned to tartan for their Fall/Winter 2019 collections, presenting different variants of the print, ranging from hefty buffalo check to exaggerated glen plaid. Christian Dior and Marine Serre especially championed the print in their collections, while it made not-to-be-missed cameos at Lanvin, Unravel, and Rokh, too.

The print’s origins goes back further than ‘90s flannels or even the ‘70s English punk rock movement. Beyond the urban landscape of pop culture and music, tartan can be traced back to the 14th century Scottish highlands, where wool weavers would create unique linear patterns to distinguish a specific Scottish clan or region from another. At that time, it was simply known as tartan. Plaid, which was originally the name for the thick kilts and cloaks the Scottish would wear, didn’t become synonymous with the print until it spread to British manufacturers and, eventually, American textiles. British designer Alexander McQueen utilized tartan as a reference to his Scottish heritage, especially for his provocative Fall/Winter 1996 collection called Highland Rape. McQueen subverted the pattern and re-introduced it to the mainstream consciousness.

Tartan’s history tells a story about identity, which seems fitting for modern runway collections. Identity as it pertains to a fashion brand is often considered while implementing designers’ distinct visions each season. Maria Grazia Chiuri, for example, continues to align Dior with a strong-minded, female energy, calling on the French fashion house’s history of rethinking femininity for modern women, while also appealing to feminist ideas. For Fall, Chiuri turned to English influences through her references to the Teddy Girl movement of 1950s and her use of various tartans in classic lacquer red, hunter green, black, and white. The buffalo check was the most plentiful, appearing on mid-length skirts, layered separates, and oversized outerwear.

For Marine Serre, plaid was twisted into intricate shapes and silhouettes, from emblazoned on an hourglass-shaped coat, worn as masks on models‘ faces, or translated into a long poncho. Rokh’s Fall/Winter 2019 show also showcased plentiful plaids on a deconstructed trench coat, loose-fitting trousers, and skirt-and-turtleneck combinations. Ben Taverniti’s collection for Unravel mixed and matched tartan with different textiles, from plaid pants with denim backs to a trench coat crossed with a moto jacket and flannel. For newly anointed Bruno Sialelli’s debut collection for Lanvin, tartan could be found on cozy knits, Scottish-inspired kilts, outerwear, and draped as ponchos, marking a new direction for the French brand.

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createdAt:Wed, 27 Feb 2019 17:54:11 +0000
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