3rd April 2009 at 01:00

An exhibition that should inspire anyone with an interest in design and fashion to use the textiles Scotland is most famous for has opened at the costume gallery in Provost Skene's House, in Aberdeen.

Tartan and Tweed, which runs until May 9, is one of several exhibitions being mounted at the city's galleries and museums in 2009 during the Year of Homecoming.

A total of 13 outfits, dating from 1854 to the 1990s and covering traditional styles, high-street fashion and couture, have been chosen from Aberdeen's extensive costume collections, all of them made from either tartan or tweed.

A short introduction to the exhibition explains: "Tartan as a fashionable fabric was popularised by George IV's visit to Edinburgh in 1822. The fondness of Queen Victoria for all things Highland ensured its fashion credentials. The tweed produced by crofters on the island of Harris is hand-woven and became fashionable during the 19th century with the revival of interest in traditional crafts."

The show kicks off with one of the eye-catching, all-tartan outfits worn during the 1950s and 1960s by the late Frances Farquharson, flamboyant wife of the then head of the Clan Farquharson. The hooded cloak, jacket and ankle-length skirt ensemble which she designed herself and had made up locally - in Farquharson tartan, of course - must have caused quite a stir when she wore it to the Braemar Gathering.

A little more subtle, but no less stylish, is the beige tweed stalking costume, complete with matching monogram brooch carved from horn, that the dashing Mrs Farquharson wore when walking the family's Invercauld estate.


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