Wednesday, November 20

Obsessions: McQueen's Tartan Threads

Tartan – a multicolored pattern of crisscrossing horizontal and vertical bands – is the traditional fabric of Scottish clans. The fabric has also been a fashion favorite for centuries, but it was Alexander McQueen who put tartan back on the high-fashion map in the late 1990s. Tartan was one of the few plain textiles McQueen used in his collections, and his custom black, red, and yellow version was a tribute to his Scottish heritage. He unveiled his tartan in his 1995 Highland Rape collection, which condemned the English “rape” of Scotland in the nineteenth century through tired and torn tartan garments (more on that here). McQueen's tartan notably reappeared in the designer’s 2006 collection, which featured couture variations on Scottish clan dress, like the dress famously worn by Sarah Jessica Parker to the 2006 Met Ball. With the return of tartan-covered clothes and accessories this fall, the McQueen tartan endures in the label’s McQ line, whose wool dress is my current fashion obsession ($1,180,
S.S.W. Asks: Will YOU wear tartan this fall?

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