Tweeds – Tradition Reinvented For the Winter Wardrobe

Tweed is a traditional fabric that for centuries has been routinely favoured for casual outerwear because of its warmth and durability. It has been much loved by the country classes, including Britain’s royal family. In early 200& tweed and other traditional fabrics made a surprise comeback on the catwalks in couturier collections for fall and winter.

Dolce & Gabbana, better known for sexy leopard prints and corsets, surprised the world when their new designs featured these time-honoured fabrics despite their old-fashioned former image. In the D&G collections tweeds, tartans, corduroy and checked patterns in muted colours all contribute to an understated look with a retro air of country style. Of course, this is haute couture and there were also exotic flourishes in the accessories and detailing. The overall look was described by fashion pundits as ‘demure’. The designers themselves emphasised the charms of warm, comfortable and practical clothing.

Tweeds are linked especially to Scotland, the name deriving from the Scottish pronunciation of ’twill’, a particular kind of close woollen weave. Plain weave looks the same on both sides, whereas twill shave a right and wrong side.  Perhaps the best known is Harris Tweed, made on the islands of Harris, Lewis, Bana and Uist in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. (Linton and Bernat Klein are other quality names) Harris tweeds are still made of 10o£ wool, spun and hand-woven by skilled weavers in their own crofts.

Tweed began as homespun cloth, dyed with local materials such as mosses and lichens, amongst other plants. The traditional Tieathermix’ is achieved by mixing different natural colours together in a beautifully blended multi-strand yam.

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