The culture of fashion: kilty pleasures

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Le Kilt

It’s 30 years since Marc Jacobs’ fateful Perry Ellis grunge collection, so a good time for one revival in particular. This autumn I’m excited for the return of the kilt, the old money staple that straddles childhood nostalgia and tradition (think school uniforms and the Queen off-duty) and pop culture subversion (70s punk, 90s grunge, Cher from Clueless).

This season, Burberry has cleverly revived it as a youthful house code in an effort to ramp up Daniel Lee’s modern Brit vision. For starters, there’s a barely-there silk chiffon version, alongside robust wool options in purple check*(below), yellow* (below) and crimson* ready to accompany the house check outerwear, blankets and hot water bottles that will adorn Gen-Z backs in the coming weeks.

Burberry kilt by Scott Trindle for Vogue
Burberry kilt by Scott Trindle for Vogue

You could say the wheels were set in motion two springs ago with Miu Miu’s kilt-adjacent pleated skirts of every length (below) causing a stir from the runway to the top of the Lyst charts, followed by Lucinda Chambers’ bold asymmetric kilt for her Collagerie x Jigsaw collab last autumn.

Kilts are interesting as they’re rooted in Scottish military heritage yet are open to so much stylistic interpretation. According to this Met Museum explainer, they were adopted by upper class women after WW2 as well as English and American private schools. But punks disrupted their genteel appeal in the 70s, followed by grunge in the 90s. Steven Meisel’s Vogue Italia shoot (below) nails the 90s moment, while Bruce Weber’s country romp with Stella Tennant reinforces the posh-punk incongruity (below). This Versus AW95 campaign (below) also features aristo-punk Stella (so-called for the nose ring she wore in her first UK Vogue shoot) putting her glam twist on the kilt with matching sporran-esque bag and heels.

Miu Miu pleated skirt
Vogue Perry Ellis Marc Jacobs Steven Meisel grunge
Stella Tennant Vogue Italia Bruce Weber
Versus campaign Fall Winter 1995

Most worthy of our attention right now however, is the Le Kilt reboot (top and below). A lesson in made-in-Scotland kilts, mohair wrap minis and superfine lambswool twin sets, its accompanying accessories and superb styling marry old school heritage with romantic rebellion in the best possible way.
Le Kilt
Le Kilt
Le Kilt

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WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Le Kilt; Burberry AW23/ Vogue x 2; Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia; Bruce Weber for Vogue Italia; Versus AW95; Le Kilt x 3
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links* and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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