A SCOT­TISH RO­MANCE

The sar­to­rial love story be­tween Gor­don Ni­col­son Kilt­mak­ers and Blues & Browns gives birth to two time­less new looks

Scottish Field - - CONTENTS -

Two time­less new looks from Blues & Browns and Gor­don Ni­col­son Kilt­mak­ers

The clothes we wear to cel­e­brate big mo­ments form an im­por­tant part of the fab­ric of our lives. They are a part of our story – but what story do we want them to tell? In an age of im­per­ma­nence, Gor­don Ni­col­son and Kairen Alexis Ruse are pas­sion­ate about pro­duc­ing clothes that tell sto­ries worth re­mem­ber­ing.

Com­bin­ing tra­di­tional tech­niques and his­tor­i­cal style ref­er­ences, Out­landish out­fits tell sto­ries steeped in a proud lo­cal her­itage. Rooted in the sub­stance of the past, they are en­gi­neered to last well into the fu­ture. As exquisitel­y crafted ob­jects, they can be trea­sured for a life­time, and passed down through gen­er­a­tions. They are time trav­ellers them­selves.

Ladieswear de­signer Kairen, founded Blues & Browns in Perth in 2002 with a sim­ple phi­los­o­phy: ‘to cre­ate beau­ti­fully tai­lored clothes in Scot­land; by women for women.’

Her work­room is home to a small team of seam­stresses, em­broi­der­ers, and cut­ters, cre­at­ing every­thing from in­tri­cately tai­lored coats in ro­bust tweeds and wool to ex­quis­ite cel­e­bra­tion out­fits in sump­tu­ous silks and vel­vets, all un­der the ex­pe­ri­enced eye of head tai­lor Melinda Juhasz.

As a for­mer ac­tress (and great­niece of Olivia de Hav­il­land) Kairen knows that the key to a show­stop­ping per­for­mance is metic­u­lous at­ten­tion to de­tail and plenty of flair; from start to fin­ish, head to toe. Her be­spoke ser­vice pays close at­ten­tion to the in­di­vid­ual needs and de­sires of her dis­cern­ing client, cul­mi­nat­ing

in a unique look in an im­pec­ca­ble hand-tai­lored fit. Her exclusive ready-to-wear col­lec­tion is no less com­fort­able in the spot­light.

From strik­ing hats to hand­made shoes from the ate­lier’s ar­ti­san cob­bler, care­fully con­sid­ered ac­ces­sories are in­te­gral to Blues & Browns dis­tinc­tive pol­ished fi­nal look. As is the re­fusal to com­pro­mise on sourc­ing: fine tweeds and tar­tan cloths, wo­ven in small fac­to­ries the length and breadth of Scot­land, are used ex­clu­sively to en­sure Blues & Browns gar­ments are truly tai­lor-made in Scot­land.

For high­landwear re­tailer Gor­don Ni­col­son Kilt­mak­ers, au­then­tic Scot­tish­ness is at the heart of every­thing they make and do. Since found­ing his first store on Ed­in­burgh’s his­toric Royal Mile in 2001, Gor­don has been on a mis­sion to rein­vig­o­rate and pro­mote true Scot­tish crafts­man­ship.

Gor­don Ni­col­son Kilt­mak­ers’ ar­ti­sanal ac­ces­sories chan­nel the ac­cu­mu­lated wis­dom of sev­eral cen­turies of sur­pris­ingly di­verse na­tional dress – while made-to-mea­sure jack­ets and trews en­able cus­tomers to ex­press them­selves within a tra­di­tional con­text.

The hand­sewn kilt is the hero of Scot­tish menswear, which is why, not­ing a de­cline in the qual­ity of its pro­duc­tion, Gor­don founded the Ed­in­burgh Kilt­mak­ers Academy. Many of his in­de­pen­dent mak­ers are grad­u­ates, pro­duc­ing kilts in the old style to ex­act­ing stan­dards.

In re­sponse to grow­ing de­mand, Gor­don also of­fers tar­tan de­sign ser­vices for in­di­vid­u­als and or­gan­i­sa­tions. His port­fo­lio in­cludes John Muir Way, in­spired by the coastal land­scape of Dun­bar, the com­mem­o­ra­tive Flod­den, rep­re­sent­ing a 500-year mile­stone in a thread of his­toric re­mem­brance in­trin­sic to the City of Ed­in­burgh and the Bor­der Com­mon Rid­ings, as well as the of­fi­cial tar­tans of Celtic Foot­ball Club and the Univer­sity of Ed­in­burgh.

Like any great out­fit, the lat­est Out­landish edi­to­rial tells a story that is true to the val­ues of its in­cep­tion. It is a tale of cre­ative part­ner­ship and shared phi­los­o­phy, the preser­va­tion of craft and the re­spect for prove­nance, and the en­dur­ing power of true lux­ury. Like the city of Ed­in­burgh it­self, it is a crea­ture of para­dox, en­com­pass­ing metic­u­lous de­tail and grand am­bi­tion, style rooted in sub­stance, the then and the now. It is more than the sum of its parts: it is a Scot­tish ro­mance.

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