A new catwalk collection hailed the stylings of Princess Anne – including her penchant for tweed. We’ve donned our eyeglass to explore why this royal staple is a style perennial.

A recent dispatch in The Times engrossed the beard scratchers at Peter Christian HQ. It concerned a new collection from the haute couture brand, Fendi, that was inspired by Princess Anne. The kicker? Said capsule – which contained tweed jackets in homage to the monarchal heavyweight – was aimed at men.

Mens Harris Tweed Jacket, Mens Harris Tweed Suit

There has been a recent vogue for the humble tweed jacket becoming a sartorial choice for the rich, famous or impeccably dressed. Male supermodel David Gandy has advocated the tweed suit while fashion powerhouses like Yves Saint Laurent, Issy Miyake and Walter Zenga have recently released tweed lines. So what is it about this totemic British design that stirs such patronage? Let’s start by rewinding over 200 years, to its birth on wind-battered looms.

Tweed rose from the land: specifically the heather-pocked hills of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides archipelago and the mainland’s western shore. It is most associated with the Isle of Harris – which received a 1993 parliamentary order to ensure the immortal Harris Tweed could only be spun on the island of its birth – but it was also popular in Ireland: home of the reliably emerald Donegal tweed.

Mens Harris Tweed Suit

Composed of dyed sheep’s wool and traditionally using hues that mirrored the ground on which they were sewn, tweed was originally built for croft owners and their employees. As such it needed to be hearty and rain resistant to withstand those brutal north Atlantic weather systems.

Accounts differ but 1848 marks a landmark moment in tweed’s evolution to style perennial. A trend had caught hold amongst the British gentry for purchasing Scottish country estates, where the smell of gun smoke hung heavy on the wind. One such person was Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert, who purchased the sprawling Balmoral estate from the Farquharson family: an ancient Scottish clan who now claim over five million connected descendants worldwide.

Albert commissioned the Balmoral tweed – a granite gray base with flecks of red and blue that (whilst we wouldn’t say this in front of royalty) perhaps lacks the natty dapperness of items like a classic Harris Tweed jacket.

Nevertheless, thereafter, every estate owner craved their own bespoke design. The tweed suit – matched with accoutrements like the tweed hat and tweed tie – became a modish mainstay of genteel Britain: its ubiquitousness eventually filtering down through the classes where it was adapted by youth movements like the Mods, whose interests were less about duck hunts and more dancing all night on Wigan Pier.

Mens Harris Tweed Harrington Jacket

So what’s been driving its recent resurgence to high fashion design of choice? Globally popular TV shows like The Crown and Downton Abbey have made the fashion choices of the upper classes a permanent fixture on our screens. Plus, in a conscious era where our clothes’ provenance and durability is of increasing importance, tweed kicks against the grain of fast fashion. Princess Anne herself is president of the UK Fashion and Textiles Association and has previously said we “need materials that can do more than one evolution of fashion.”

She might well have been talking about our immortal tweed that, over 200 years since its genesis at the fingertips of Scottish loomers, continues to set the trend.

Has your intrigue in tweed been piqued? Take a look through our tweed jackets or tweed suits. Alternatively, a mens Harris Tweed coat will pair adroitly with a tweed hat.

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