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DAN'S PAPERS, March 14, 2008 Page 38

Romancing the Plaid By Karma Hope In 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie armed his Jacobite army with a dose of national Scottish pride when he dressed them in signature highland plaids. Charlie’s little army was met with forceful English destruction, compelling him to eventually flee to France, never to return to Scotland. The biggest blow, however, came when the Duke of Cumberland (the Butcher) imposed his Proscription Act of 1746, outlawing the wearing of clanship and Highland garb. What had once been a signature fabric distinguishing clan from clan now became a subservient nation’s flag of patriotism against oppression. The Proscription Act only prohibited men from wearing plaid, also known as tartan. Thus the women, in a national act of protest, began to incorporate tartans in all their apparel, further cementing the Scottish devotion to plaid. In their new book Tartan: Romancing the Plaid, Jeffrey Banks and Doria De La Chapelle have expertly given a cohesive voice to the history and significance of this popular pattern and fabric. With a foreword by Rose Marie Bravo, the chief executive of Burberry, this book brings the history of a revered fabric into contemporary





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focus, eloquently covering the noteworthy history of tartans from its humble beginnings to its worldwide acceptance through the enthusiastic incorporation of English life by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. This book takes the reader on a journey past plaid’s historical significance, to tartan’s impact on modern fashion. America soon followed the lead of the royal family. Plaids could be found sprinkled throughout the fashion scene with Ralph Lauren using the print liberally among his designs. Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Marc Jacobs, Isaac Mizrahi, Michael Kaye, Yves St. Laurent and Jean-Paul Gaultier, among others, are also known for the generous use of plaid in their designs. Burberry, of course, made plaid a company signature. Fashion has certainly embraced tartan in a worldwide celebration of a significant weave. In the mid-nineteenth century, all things Scottish became famous when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert made Balmoral their preferred royal residence. Tourist response was tremendous as people across the globe discovered a new vacation destination. In response to tartan mania, manufacturers began producing plaid in volume. Not only inventing new plaids but creating entire lines of tartan objects. There came a series of household goods referred to as tartanware. From tea caddies and eggcups to parasol handles, tourists could leave Scotland with a tangible memory of their travels. Tartan soon was seen in home décor universally. From wall coverings to furniture and table linens to bedding, plaid became the rave in household furnishings. Focusing on the work of interior designers such as Diamond and Baratta, Ward Denton and Christopher Gardner, and Randy Ridless, tartan has been used to compliment grand castles and mere caretaker’s cottages. Colors range from traditional reds and greens to less conventional yellows and blues. Plaid seems never to go out of fashion. Beautifully photographed, intricately researched and brilliantly presented, this book is a boon to anyone’s collection. Utilizing oversized pages with attention to the smallest detail, it makes a great coffee table book that guests will love browsing. The book’s creators have brought traditional paintings and current photographs together, creating a wonderful collection of color and beauty that will engage the reader and leave long lasting images. From its tragic beginnings to its impact on fashion and society, plaid is a part of all our lives and after reading this book, you will never wear a tartan scarf the same way again.

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Dan's Papers Mar. 14, 2008  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...

Dan's Papers Mar. 14, 2008  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...