Pioneering designer Vivienne Westwood’s seminal 1993/94 Anglomania collection enshrined the kilt in high fashion. It was worn on the runway by Kate Moss, who sported the look shown here, and by Naomi Campbell, who famously fell while wearing the Super Elevation Gillie platforms. The kilt evolved from a single long piece of durable, harsh twill in muted colors that Scottish Highland men wrapped around the lower body, belted, and the passed over one shoulder.
Beginning in the late seventeenth century, pleats were sown into the back the skirt, loops were added for ease of belting, and the top length formed an autonomous garment. For Highland clans , the kilt symbolized familial, military and geographic loyalties. Following a series of incursions known as the Jacobite Uprisings, the garment was banned by English law in 1746, and its use declined precipitously. The kilt was revived by nineteenth-century elites, who invented new traditions around its use.
Worn by the military until the mid-twentieth century, the kilt became a nostalgic symbol for Scottish nationals in diaspora, and it is a common element of girls’ private school uniforms and ceremonial wedding attire. Punks subversively paired it with hoodies and graphic T-shirts
Photographed at part of the Exhibit, Items: Is Fashion Modern? on view through January 28th, 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.