HARRIS TWEED® ON THE CATWALKS

It might seem a big leap from the crofts of the Scottish Hebrides to the international catwalks, but Harris Tweed® has always encapsulated the zeitgeist of every modern era for the biggest designer names and luxury labels around the world….

 

The 1920s marked Harris Tweed®'s transition from rugged countryside attire to a symbol of sophistication and rebellion. Coco Chanel, ever the visionary, famously incorporated Harris Tweed® into her revolutionary designs, redefining women's fashion in the process. Her iconic collarless tweed suits, with their soft but structured silhouettes and elegant braid detailing, became synonymous with the modern, independent woman. Chanel's innovative use of tweed breathed new life into the cloth, propelling it onto the catwalks of Paris and cementing its status as a high fashion material.
 
Fast forward to the swinging sixties, and Tweed underwent a radical transformation, mirroring the era's spirit of liberation and experimentation. Designers such as André Courrèges and Mary Quant restyled tweed with a fresh energy. Space-age pinafores and cheeky miniskirts, in vibrantly coloured tweed (and clashing tights) danced down the runways, challenging traditional notions of femininity and signalling a seismic shift in fashion.  Tweed, once considered classic and conservative, emerged as a symbol of youthful rebellion, capturing the imaginations of a new generation.
 
The 1980s witnessed tweed's resurgence on the catwalks, with an opulent twist. Designers like Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel and Giorgio Armani embraced the decadence of the decade, giving tweed garments lavish embellishments and oversized silhouettes. Power dressing became synonymous with bright, sharp shouldered tweed blazers with gold buttons, epitomising the era's excess and exuberance. Tweed, once again, proved its adaptability, seamlessly transitioning from the understated elegance of previous decades to the bold extravagance of the '80s.
 
In the rebellious spirit of the late 1980s, Vivienne Westwood’s twist on tweed was marked by her signature fusion of punk aesthetics and traditional British heritage. Her landmark 1987 Harris Tweed collection was a celebration and a sexy subversion of the traditional fabric and the designs of Savile Row tailoring, with tweed reimagined in daring silhouettes and a bold colour palette, juxtaposing structured corsets with billowing skirts, and sharp jackets.
 
As fashion moves into the 21st century, tweed continues to captivate designers and consumers alike with its timeless appeal. Thom Browne’s unisex tweed tailoring has transformed modern suiting with playful ankle-high cuffed trousers and cropped suit jackets. Meanwhile, the sleek, minimalist interpretations of Phoebe Philo’s much-coveted luxury womenswear frequently feature tweed, including her enveloping checked coats for Celine, which she once described as “modern urban camouflage”. Last year Philo’s 2023 debut own-name collection included an ankle length Scottish box pleat kilt, handmade in – what else? – checked tweed.
Chanel Fall 2015 Ready to Wear Collection: 
Woman walking the Chanel catwalk wearing blue Harris Tweed 
 
Woman walking on the Chanel catwalk wearing Harris TweedWoman walking on the Chanel catwalk wearing Harris Tweed

 

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