In May we brought you Archie’s Top Tweed Icons – manly men of tweedy style. Today it’s Vanessa’s turn to unveil her list of female tweed fashion icons.
Before we start, let’s just say it’s not been easy. There are so many gorgeous, stylish women who love tweed as much as we do that it was almost impossible to whittle the list down.
Most of those who made it, did so on the grounds that either their style was/is intrinsically tweed-centric – Chanel, Vivienne Westwood, The Duchess of Cambridge. Or they were snapped enjoying a tweed fashion moment resulting in an iconic image that’s served as inspiration for us mere mortals ever since – Kate Bush, Erin O’Connor.
There can be little doubt that Chanel’s boxy, little tweed jackets are the most famous ladies tweeds in production. As the image above shows, Coco Chanel first fell for tweed when she used to borrow her lover’s – the 2nd Duke of Westminster – jacket during trips to his country pile, Rosehall House in Sutherland, Scotland.
Vivienne Westwood, another Queen of high fashion, is, if anything, even more deeply smitten with tweed. Time and again her collections feature fabulously tailored tweeds that swoop lavishly over curves defying any suggestion that tweed is manly.
The fashionista’s fashionista, Diana Vreeland, legendary Editor of Vogue and Harper’s Baazar, wore tweed with characteristic individuality and style. As she famously said; “You gotta have style. It helps you get down the stairs. It helps you get up in the morning. It’s a way of life. Without it, you’re nobody. I’m not talking about lots of clothes.”
There were many fashion moments in the sun for Kate Bush but it is her tweed moment rather than her leotard one that has endured. A quick look at the Pinboards on Pinterest confirms that this image is a fashion heirloom, still inspiring young girls to try the suit look.
Diane Keaton is another sweet and impish tweed icon, no amount of tomboy clobber can undermine her kooky girl style. It started with Annie Hall in 1977 and it’s still fresh today.
To be fair, Erin O’Connor is such a long, cool drink of chic that she would look good in anything. Still, there are style lessons for us all in her outfit for the Tweed Run. Notably the combination of tomboy tailoring, with contrasting ultra-feminine baby pink slipover and girlie heeled Mary Janes. Not forgetting the carefully chosen accessories. All together she looks fabulous, in the tweeds alone she’d still look good but perhaps more like a 30’s gardener or an errand boy.
BIBA was possibly the hippest shop of the 60s and 70s and this collection, in part inspired by the films Bonnie and Clyde, and Annie Hall propelled a generation of girls into tweed. A trend that ended in a nation of teens wearing hacking jackets, cords and granny shoes.
Duchess of Cambridge
There are not many contemporary young women on Vanessa’s icon list. To make it as an icon you really need to stand the test of time – unless you are a Princess. There are special privileges for Princesses and early recognition as a style icon is one of them. So here she is the Duchess of Cambridge, showing modern country girls how it’s done.