About the Author
is the CEO of Burberry. Jeffrey Banks
is a Coty award-winning designer of men’s and women’s apparel. Banks has worked with a number of Scottish fabric mills designing tartans of his own. Doria de La Chapelle
is a freelance writer and publicist. After covering fashion and beauty for Mademoiselle, she worked as advertising director at Henri Bendel.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
FOREWORD Rose Marie Bravo In 1997 when I accepted the role of chief executive at Burberry, little did I know as I moved my family to England, that my story and my life would be in inextricably linked with the story of tartan and the Burberry plaid, or what is lovingly called in the United Kingdom "the check." The small team that we had selected began to delve into the archives of this very British 150-year-old company. It became exceedingly clear that the Burberry trench coat with its plaid lining was the company's primary icon which conferred instantly on the wearer a sense of quality, status, class, and taste. As I traveled around the world in an effort to understand the DNA and the magic of the brand, I was fascinated by the universal appeal and the emotion that all things tartan had in various cultures. Tartan is an unspoken language that can ellicit a response without one word being spoken. It has the ability to cross national borders, appeal to all generations and both genders. I studied an elderly Italian gentleman in a small village in the middle of Italy proudly sporting his tartan cap or Burberry scarf with a loden coat as well as a twenty-five-year-old gal on the streets of Seoul wearing the same items, creating a totally different impression in my mind. Tartan and plaid, as this book will demonstrate, have the ability to send a variety of messages. I recalled my days merchandising department stores where from time to time several fashion designers would use tartan and plaid in a variety of ways. The most avant-garde creative people used it with a sense of irreverence.How could something so old be made to look modern and hip? A few designers would use plaid in its most traditional manner and color combinations and thus ellicit a sense of heritage, classicism, and longevity in the clothes. Even the manner in which tartan can take color in those unique exciting combinations can add so much personality and style to an ensemble. In the United Kingdom tartan and plaid are ubiquitous. In your daily life you see these patterns used in so many venues and ways they enter your subconscious. So many fine establishments--hotels, restaurants, even castles--use tartan in their décor, and one has an immediate sense of home and belonging, warmth, coziness.You are just waiting for that delicious sweetsmelling, very hot tea to be poured into a fine china cup and saucer. Walking the streets of London on a brisk, gray autumn day one of the most joyous sights would be to see a flock of young children out for a stroll wearing their subtle tartan jumpers or trousers. So, as you browse or read through this beautiful book, enjoy all the dimensions and the references that these patterns can ellicit. Yes, think England and its heritage and the royals, and Scotland and its clans and their pride. And see plaid as a fiery, irreverent banner in fashion and during the holidays where a tartan bow tie speaks volumes about its wearer. But most of all become seduced by the power, the magic, and the mystery inherent in this oldest and most exuberant expression of belonging.