Music

The culture of fashion: kilty pleasures



Le Kilt

It’s 30 years since Marc Jacobs’ fateful Perry Ellis grunge collection, so a good time for one revival in particular. This autumn I’m excited for the return of the kilt, the old money staple that straddles childhood nostalgia and tradition (think school uniforms and the Queen off-duty) and pop culture subversion (70s punk, 90s grunge, Cher from Clueless).

This season, Burberry has cleverly revived it as a youthful house code in an effort to ramp up Daniel Lee’s modern Brit vision. For starters, there’s a barely-there silk chiffon version, alongside robust wool options in purple check*(below), yellow* (below) and crimson* ready to accompany the house check outerwear, blankets and hot water bottles that will adorn Gen-Z backs in the coming weeks.

Burberry kilt by Scott Trindle for Vogue
Burberry kilt by Scott Trindle for Vogue

You could say the wheels were set in motion two springs ago with Miu Miu’s kilt-adjacent pleated skirts of every length (below) causing a stir from the runway to the top of the Lyst charts, followed by Lucinda Chambers’ bold asymmetric kilt for her Collagerie x Jigsaw collab last autumn.

Kilts are interesting as they’re rooted in Scottish military heritage yet are open to so much stylistic interpretation. According to this Met Museum explainer, they were adopted by upper class women after WW2 as well as English and American private schools. But punks disrupted their genteel appeal in the 70s, followed by grunge in the 90s. Steven Meisel’s Vogue Italia shoot (below) nails the 90s moment, while Bruce Weber’s country romp with Stella Tennant reinforces the posh-punk incongruity (below). This Versus AW95 campaign (below) also features aristo-punk Stella (so-called for the nose ring she wore in her first UK Vogue shoot) putting her glam twist on the kilt with matching sporran-esque bag and heels.

Miu Miu pleated skirt
Vogue Perry Ellis Marc Jacobs Steven Meisel grunge
Stella Tennant Vogue Italia Bruce Weber
Versus campaign Fall Winter 1995

Most worthy of our attention right now however, is the Le Kilt reboot (top and below). A lesson in made-in-Scotland kilts, mohair wrap minis and superfine lambswool twin sets, its accompanying accessories and superb styling marry old school heritage with romantic rebellion in the best possible way.
Le Kilt
Le Kilt
Le Kilt

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WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Le Kilt; Burberry AW23/ Vogue x 2; Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia; Bruce Weber for Vogue Italia; Versus AW95; Le Kilt x 3
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links* and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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CLICK HERE to buy my book, The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman
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Au revoir Jane, the ultimate garconne



Jane Birkin - the ultimate garconne

Celebrities dying is nothing new, but word of Jane Birkin’s passing feels personal. Not because she was an icon or a diva but because she wasn’t.

Despite her obvious physical beauty and talent she always came across to me as down to earth and real. I remember ‘meeting’ her with That’s Not My Age at a Miller Harris event (Lyn Harris had created a bespoke fragrance for her and they had remained friends). Well, Alyson actually spoke to her while I hovered awkwardly. She was as unaffected and chicly dishevelled as you would hope. I always liked how despite her much-lauded beauty, she had the same hang ups as us all. Her interviews would frequently reveal her vulnerabilities around her looks, such as her description in 2021 of buying oversized men’s garms in which to look ‘fragile’ – the 60s waif body ideal clearly still omnipresent in her psyche.

Yet, as far as I know, she resisted the lure of tweakments and plastic surgery succumbed to by most other high-profile women of her era in their bid to future-proof their careers. She was famously non-princessy. Regularly asked about beauty hacks and product recs, her go-tos were a relatable high-low mix of French pharmacy staples (Embryolisse! Dr. Hauschka!) and bougie duty free splurges (Sisley!).

Jane Birkin epitomised the ‘garconne’ style and philosophy I identified in my 2016 book, The New Garconne: How to Be a Modern Gentlewoman. I would have happily used her on the cover to exemplify not just the dualities of masculine-feminine dressing, but her personal values – she was proudly woke long before that was even a word. Despite being partly famous for inspiring the Hermès Birkin bag, she was known for selling her Birkins to raise money for deserving causes and eventually swapped bags for pockets!

A final word from la Birkin on ageing – despite her ups and downs she was emphatic that life is for living…

“I think at 40 years old, I was at my best, really. Not for me at 20 or 25. Forty is, I think, a great, great age for a girl, 40 and even 50. It’s a lovely age because girls are as fragile as when they’re 15, and they don’t know what’s coming up. They know what they’re losing, but they don’t know what they’re going to get; 40 and 50 is a bit like that. You turn into something else a little bit, and it’s rather exciting. You do rash things. You do rash things because it’s your last chance in lots of ways, so I find that girls of 40 are interesting characters to write for, and 50 too.”

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: Jane Birkin / photographer unknown
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

CLICK HERE to get Disneyrollergirl blog posts straight to your inbox once a week
CLICK HERE to buy my book, The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman
CLICK HERE to buy my beauty book, Face Values: The New Beauty Rituals and Skincare



See this: summer watch list



Asteroid City Wes Anderson

Everyone’s talking about Barbie, the movie, but I’m probably going to give that a miss. Instead, I’m looking forward to Wes Anderson’s latest kookfest, Asteroid City (above), with its usual stellar cast line-up, and BlackBerry, a satirical biopic of the tech company to satisfy my chronic nostalgia-itis. (more…)



Quote of the Day: Kim Jones, Faith Fanzine



Kim Jones Silvia Venturini Fendi
“Silvia is really funny because she loves techno, she’s a really chic woman, and she’s like, ‘ooh, put some techno on.’ There’s a Jeff Mills mix that we listen to quite a lot.”
Kim Jones on Silvia Venturini Fendi, Faith Fanzine (more…)