Tartan checks mark a return to the classics in menswear
In a menswear market increasingly open to experimentation, many welcome — and occasionally questionable — trends come in: ankle-skimming pants, head-to-toe prints, florals, oversize outerwear, cropped jackets. Running parallel, there’s also a gentle veering towards a more lasting, trans-season fashion, to be seen at the Fall/ Winter 2013-14 menswear seasons currently showing, as exemplified by the likes of Alexander McQueen (making it’s debut at ‘London Collections: Men’ this year) and Prada at Milan’s menswear week (simple to the point of jarring, with a focus on checks of all kinds). Here, tartan checks, originally a symbol of Scottish national identity, have been adopted across all labels this season with a frequency that, even in fashion, is welcome.
There are certain labels where tartan is irretrievably woven into the brand’s DNA, like Burberry and Vivienne Westwood, so they might just escape mention (though one would like to point out to Andreas Kronthaler’s monochrome tartan pair as he walked the runway beside dame Vivienne Westwood at the end of the Vivienne Westwood Fall/ Winter 2013-14 show in Milan).
Arashi Yanagawa for John Lawrence Sullivan in Paris paired tartan checks with florals, somewhat akin to what one saw at Dries Van Noten’s Spring/ Summer 2013 women’s wear show in Paris last September.
At Etro it was tartan dressing gowns, while it was double-breasted coats at Dsquared2. Influential labels that turned to tartan in the menswear shows — and could set the woven check pattern as the trend in the women’s wear shows that follow later — include Dries Van Noten, Versace, Yohji Yamamoto, Walter Van Beirendonck, Jil Sander and Valentino.
Tartan, which also once emerged as part of Punk fashion in the 1970s, might get another nod in the The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s next exhibition theme, ‘Punk: Chaos to Couture’.