Checks and balances: Why you can now bring that Burberry scarf out of the closet
Sunday 18 October 2009
Fashion may have a reputation as a fickle mistress, but when something falls truly out of favour, the rehabilitation process can take an awfully long time. And so it was with the infamous "Burberry check", the signature black, tan and red pattern with which the design house began lining its trench coats back in the 1920s.
Cut to the late-1990s and the images the print called to mind were not good. At one end of the spectrum were the Sloanes, who might tote a checked bag or brave the bracing King's Road air with a scarf. At the other, were chav-tastic celebs who wore it head to toe, and enrobed their kids and dogs in it to boot. It seemed beyond redemption.
But now, thanks to the skywards-trajectory of the brand under the creative direction of Christopher Bailey, the Burberry check is no longer a sartorial crime. Cool young Londoners such as Alexa Chung started opting for the label's vintage trenches as default outerwear, and the occasional flash of printed lining began to slowly insinuate itself back into the collective fashion consciousness.
Which is probably why, after some serious soft-pedalling with the print in order to concentrate on a credible high-end mainline, the brand has chosen to again issue a few choice accessories that proudly and graphically sport their Burberry DNA. The pieces include a pair of canvas running shoes, an oversized snood and a pair of wellies, all of which can be found on the style mavens' internet shopping site of choice, Net-a-porter.com.
Of course, these remain pieces that require careful consideration before incorporating them into your wardrobe. Chucking any of them on with a tracksuit would be ill-advised in the extreme. But styled with a bit of laid-back, contemporary simplicity and a nod to old-school style, a Burberry scarf has the potential to look more country casual than football casual.
And it's not just the check that is being welcomed back into the fold. That other chav-Sloane favourite, the monogram, is also enjoying a mini-revival. The original gold-on-brown Louis Vuitton monogram has once more been spotted around town on fashionable arms. Again, on a classic handbag and preferably not too box-fresh, it suggests heritage.
For those with an ego too developed to feel comfortable sporting somebody else's initials, there is always the possibility of emulating Brad Pitt, who sported a pair of "BP" slippers at a recent première (probably safe to assume these weren't a free gift at a petrol station).
Pitt has, incidentally, also been spotted recently with a Burberry-check messenger bag, albeit in the navy alternative. Luckily, he chose not to mix his checks and monograms – a rule the rest of us should definitely live by.
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