The English wear tweed waistcoats, jackets, suits and coats not to take somebody’s fancy or to enlist the respect for their traditionalism. It’s just comfortable, practical and doesn’t contradict gentleman’s look.
Ladies choose tweed because costumes of this fabric give them elegant and romantic look and feeling of comfort and warm. But how did ancestors of the modern English feel about the material?
Tweed was preferred by the Kings Edward and George V and by Duke of Windsor. Suits, kepis and sports jackets of the close texture were made up for hunting, horseracing and walking in parks in autumn. In other countries of Europe it took some time for this fabric to gain its popularity, partly because climate there is warmer and milder, partly because the French, trendsetters, disliked their stiff neighbours and treated to their conservative gentlemen suits ironically. Could the baggy fabric, which these snobs so proud of, be elegant?
However, there are many surprises in history. This time it turned out that way. Gabrielle Chanel was the first in France who appreciated the woollen material and it was tweed that became hit of her creativeness. Coco invented design of women’s tweed costume without collar in 1954, when she hadn’t presented designer novelties on catwalk for 15 years. Her idea caused bewilderment with famous fashion designers and journalists, but how they were mistaken!
Chanel showed simple jerkin with edge piping in combination with straight skirt (a little bit below the knee). Since then this model hasn’t gone out of fashion. Moreover, it became popular with the most beautiful and famous fashionmongers.
Jacqueline Kennedy appeared on receptions in elegant two-piece outfit and stuck in memory in this very costume. Tweed dresses were preferred by Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot and Rom Schneider. However, the French changed the fabric a little bit and made it softer and not so hard (this tweed is called today continental).
Thus Chanel tweed costumes with tight arm-holes and patch pockets became an example of exquisite elegance. Tweed clothes of the famous Coco are as well-known brand as the “little black dress”. They are of current interest. Jacket without collar with thin piping and straight skirt are prototypes of the best formal clothes in the world produced by the company Escada.
World’s celebrities are not tired of tweed these days. For example, the famous fashion designer Ralph Lauren became one of the sponsors of the fabulous retro show Tweed Run, which took place in many countries of the world with his participation. Designers of the popular brand Balenciaga use the material for producing exclusive models. They invented costume with wide loose skirt and oval jacket.
Alexander McQueen went to Scotland to find new experiences and, after he had admired kilts made of checked tweed in the romantic country, he invented jacket with fur trimming, short overcoat with patch pockets and very wide lapels. Times as well as fashion trends change but tweed will never be forgotten as well as all what belongs to classics.