By Royal Appointment The Country Look
The British may not have a national costume but if they did it would be the country look: tweeds, tartans and florals, and timeless classics like the trench coat and waxed jacket. From Burberry to Barbour, it's no accident that a country obsessed with the weather has become a market leader in clothes designed to repel the wind and rain.
Although styled not for fashion but practicality, the look has nonetheless been endlessly appealing to designers like Christopher Bailey who, backstage at the Milan fashion show, demonstrates how he has reinvented the trench coat. In London, Luella Bartley walks us through her collection of floral print dresses, a modern take on Laura Ashley, and rock star Eric Clapton illustrates why the cut of a country jacket is more about purpose than style.
The most famous fan of country attire has been the Queen and it is her 'at leisure' look of tartans and headscarves that is now providing the inspiration for Italian designers Dolce and Gabbana. It is perhaps no surprise that that these comforting and practical clothes, the embodiment of tradition, protectiveness and durability, are back in fashion as the ill winds of recession blow.