Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fashionista in Liddesdale

My heroines may wear medieval silks and furs, but I’m definitely a 21st century fashionista. When I want to escape my writing problems, I grab a fashion magazine and dream of looking good in sky-high heels and a smokey eye.”
Of course, in my real world, I wear leggings and a tee shirt and the only thing I own with the Chanel logo is a bottle of nail polish. (Graphite, this season’s hot shade.)
And once I started writing historicals set on the Scottish Border, my fictional world became even less fashionable. Border Reivers were known for many things. Fancy clothes were not among them.
So it is not very often that my fictional and my real world intersect, fashionwise.
But this month, I opened Vogue magazine and there was a picture of Stella Tennant, English model, posing in the middle of a stream in Liddesdale.
Where the most notorious Reivers lived.
Including the family in my upcoming series.
You can see the picture that stopped me in my tracks at the photographer's website: http://bentoms.blogspot.com/2011/08/stella-tennant-christopher-kane.html
It seems (who knew?) that Scotland is having a fashion moment. Article and pictures followed Stella (who was born in the Scottish border burg of Oxnam and still lives in the area) on a tour of the high fashion hot spots, an “insider’s introduction to the origins of tweed, cashmere, tartan, and kilts.”
Ms. Tennant was brought up on a sheep farm, so I guess she knows more about cloth production than the average granddaughter of a duchess. And she’s using her connections to promote Scottish made goods amount the high fashion set. Chanel and Prada now have items made in Scotland and, I discovered, Hermes and Louis Vuitton have been doing for years. Pringle of Scotland even shows during London’s fashion week and rated a highlight in Bazaar magazine’s coverage for its “enchanting hybrids both functional and far-out.”
To bring fashion back to history, the wool trade was very important to the Scots-English Borders as far back as medieval times. Originally, sheep fleece was sent to Flanders where weavers, such as my heroine in INNOCENCE UNVEILED, made it into prized wool. The family in HIS BORDER BRIDE also raised sheep, which provided virtually the only source of outside currency.
So I guess I must just be a fashion magnet, drawn to the places that only the stylish know. And I guess I could make the case that my Flemish and Scots heroines were, in a roundabout way, in the rag trade.
What about you? Are you interested in clothes, historic or modern? Any favorites you’ve read about in historical romance?

No comments: