Designing a tartan

At the end of last year, we partnered with Kinloch Anderson to designed a fantastic tartan for us. A tartan for life, not just for Christmas, or for the duration of our Tartan exhibition.

Deciding on a tartan design for a modern, contemporary Scottish design museum seemed initially like it might be a contradiction in terms, however, the very clever and talented Fiona Whitson, Head of Design & Development at Kinloch Anderson knew as if by telekinesis exactly what it was we needed. 

Our starting point was Kengo Kuma's original pencil sketch for our building. His first in the UK and inspired by the cliffs of Scotland's east coast. This in turn inspired Fiona to design a tartan with a looseness and airiness to it, bringing a sparseness to the design that delivers a contemporary feeling. 

We then looked at adding colour. We explored orange for the city of jute, jam and journalism we are based in. Jam meaning marmalade and marmalade being orange. But much as I love orange, this just didn't quite do it for us

We then looked at blue, for the River Tay, and while we explored many blues, none if them did the trick. Then we moved to pink......

Inspired by the shocking pink of Elsa Schiaparelli and her love of Scotland, we found our colour and something we should have known all along, pink just makes everything better!

Elsa Schiaparelli, was a contemporary and rival of Coco Chanel, both of whom were in their heyday between the World Wars. Elsa was inspired and forever connected with the Surrealists, collaborating and creating Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau, creating tromp l'oeil knitwear and expected surreal accessories, from a hat in the shape of a shoe to lobster claw shaped buttons on her garments. 

Her fascination with the colour she named 'shocking pink' came in the form of a diamond owned by the socialite Daisy Fellowes, describing it as 'bright, impossible, impudent.... a shocking colour, pure and undiluted'.

Her love of Scotland, started through her friendship with Frances Farquharson (1903-1991), who was born in USA and was a highly successful journalist in London for many years, becoming wife of the 16th Laird Alwyne Compton Farquharson in 1949, whose home was Braemar Castle by the River Dee in Aberdeenshire. Schiaparelli visited many times. In turn, influencing Francis to make her mark on the decoration of the castle, using shocking pink. 

Today her legacy lives on globally through the brand that still operates under the name Schiaparelli, referencing many of the tropes she made famous and locally in Braemar Castle and nearby in the Fife Arms, where the cocktail bar is named Elsa's, where the drinks coasters come in the shape of gloves, stiletto shoes and lobster claws. 

Elsa's Cocktail Bar In The Highlands | The Fife Arms Hotel

Meanwhile, we have a fabulous range of wondrously tartan items, in our gorgeously designer tartan... featuring a shocking pink bold overcheck.

Shop it here!





Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published