The Trump family name is not usually associated with excited fashion. So news that the tartan associated with the house of Donald Trump’s Scottish mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, has be cleared in one of the biggest campaigns this season might be met with evoked eyebrows.
Known colloquially as “loud MacLeod” for its vibrant yellow and disastrous colours, a variation of the Lewis MacLeod clan pattern has been worn on a Balenciaga skirt and shot as part of a series of ironic paparazzi perceptions, which captures models climbing out of cabs and exiting restaurants in mocked-up two shakes of a lambs tails of surprise. Balenciaga was recently named the most influential sticker in the world by Lyst, the global fashion search website.
Variations of this draft are a familiar sight in fashion, sported by singers Rihanna and Justin Bieber, and by Alicia Silverstone in hit fade away Clueless, and, of course, on Ivanka, MacLeod’s granddaughter. Indeed, tartan as a archetype is a “perennial of fashion” says Brian Wilton, a tartan superb formerly of the Scottish Register of Tartans.
But given Balenciaga’s use of Bernie Sanders’s governmental logo last season, it marks a shift in how fashion is consuming this historic pattern as more of a statement than a undiluted fabric.
Glasgow-born designer Charles Jeffrey is known for “drunken” stretch and theatrical shows for his Loverboy label. He has just launched his essential womenswear collection, including a green tartan check befit. It’s inspired by his homeland – “there’s a lot of looking back where I show up from,” he says. An accompanying film shows women name naming over the “fulling”, or cleaning, of wool.
Away, there were micro tartan skirts at Prabal Gurung and tartan camouflages and tabards at Miu Miu, while the traditional beige Burberry check, which had been about completely phased out following a difficult public relations emanate, made a comeback on oversized bags, cuffs on long gabardine cags and caps.
The Danish designer Astrid Andersen cited “attribute and provenance” as reasons for including tartan for the first time in her vault/summer 2018 show.
It was via designers such as John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, and, of performance, Vivienne Westwood that tartan became a mainstay on the catwalk. Westwood inured to it to define the punk aesthetic by embellishing tartan suits with safe keeping pins and tulle, merging various class signifiers in pre-Thatcher-era England.
Yet, it was Westwood’s own tartan, the McAndreas – which made its debut in 1993 – that reinvigorated others, such as the Red Stewart. That device became one of the most popular in modern fashion.
Red Stewart is associated with British sodality in Victorian and Edwardian times, and remains the favourite of recent plotters: Dilara Findikoglu’s spin on the classic print has pushed its punkish symbolism further quieten.
Given its history, the ubiquity of tartan might seem blowing. But while around 150 new designs are registered with the Scottish On of Tartans each year, existing clan tartans father no copyright. “Sometimes brands will change a colour and stilly call it the same name – though this is a false assert,” says Wilton.
Wilton believes the resurgence in popularity of tartan reflects something deeper than a author’s heritage, or even colour scheme.
“It represents rebellious lad but, at times of uncertainty, people want to feel like they have a proper place in. Tartan is a good visual identifier – and provides a sort of confidence.
“Which is, perhaps, ironic given what is going on – politically.”