The Best of the British:The Rebels and The Classics.
Britain is known for many things; tea, the royal family, gloomy weather, The Beatles and of course fabulous fashion.
Over the past years UK designers have triumphed in the fashion world; Victoria Beckham, Topshop and Jonathan Saunders have all won at the 2012 Global Fashion Awards and dressed the likes of Anne Hathaway, Cameron Diaz and many more.
By creating quintessentially British style we have gained worldwide recognition and firmly cemented ourselves as key members of the fashion world and it seems that we will not be backing down anytime soon.
As we enter a New Year we will welcome new crazes, 2012 saw peplum and collars become steadily popular and it is fair to say that the Brits were up there using these trends to create waves on the catwalk.
Although our designers all echo Britain in their fashion lines there seems to be a contrast in style. Some are unconventional and electric whilst others are classically shaped and muted in colour; we have here the two juxtaposed teams of fashion; The Rebels and The Classics.
The Rebels are about surprise, suspense and style and it is easy to identify who started the flood of rebellious British fashion; Dame Vivienne Westwood. The iconic designer was famously inspired by punk music and brought the new wave style onto the catwalk.
In 1971, Malcolm McLaren (manager of the Sex Pistols) opened up a store in London, named Let it Rock, where Westwood began to sell her designs.
Although Westwoods creations are punk driven in bright shades with unusual structuring she manages to include the art of Britain with the prints, fabrics and historic garments.
Tartan and tweed are prominent throughout many pieces with wool being a leading fabric; Westwood also picks articles of clothing from historic eras such as corsets and crinoline in many of her dresses. Combining class shapes and typically British fabrics with modern colours Vivienne Westwood had managed to produce a punk-edged take on British fashion.
Alongside Vivienne Westwood we have the late Alexander McQueen, also a quirky and rather controversial designer who passed away in 2010 handing his McQueen crown over to Sarah Burton. In early 90’s when the label was launched McQueen earned himself the title ‘Hooligan of Fashion’ as he used often used shock tactics on the catwalk.
Much like Vivienne Westwood Alexander McQueen was not afraid to break the fashion rules and offer a kooky twist on the usually classic British style. Famous for his knowledge of bespoke British tailoring McQueen often designed suits for the Prince of Wales and would add the McQueen touch by inserting graffiti into the lining. Most notoriously McQueen took the heritage scarf and completely turned it on its head; he covered it with skulls and produced the item in a multitude of clashing colours and so the Alexander McQueen brand soon became known as rebel of fashion.
The Classics are at the other end of the scale; they offer timeless and simple yet stylish pieces which are often staples.
Master of chic and class is Burberry. Starting out as a small business, run by Thomas Burberry, gabardine was largely used in producing rainwear for people of Britain. This in itself is a classically British matter and is what the company ultimately became known for; that infamous trench coat.
Alongside the classically designed trench the name Burberry also represents the iconic plaid design which is most certainly the pattern of Burberry. Not unlike the tartan used in the work of Westwood the pattern is British but this is where the classics differ from the rebels. The colours of Burberry are warm and muted; black, beige and a deep red as oppose to the brash pinks and limes of the rebels. Even now Burberry offers plain but strong shades and cuts such as blue and cream in sleek shaping; pencil skirts and tailored shorts.
A recent but still definitively British brand is Stella McCartney. The vegetarian designer sticks to many of the same rules as Burberry when it comes to design but steers clear of fur and leather; offering a modern take on tradition- an oxymoron if ever there was one.
Her articles include precision cut blazers, clean shaping and beautiful tailoring, however, unlike Burberry the Stella McCartney brand often offers flowery prints in soft shades and varied colour with echo floral designs from the Victorian era.
Although these four brands provide us with conflicting ideas surprisingly it works to throw them together. By creating such beautiful and versatile clothes these designers have let us create a new genre of fashion; elegant rebel, you can rock a Burberry coat with an Alexander McQueen scarf and be stylishly supporting the best of British.