In the world of fashion, horse riding and it's accoutrements immediately communicate wealth, heritage and privilege…..old money in short! The Gucci ‘horsebit’ loafer, the Hermès square patterned with bridles, stirrups and medallions, the perennial riding boots and nipped in hacking jackets to name a few timeless classics.
Charlottte Casiraghi of Gucci, Gucci 1953 horesebit loafers
Elements of this style have been appropriated or subverted by designers including Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano. Remember the ubiquitous Dior ‘saddle bag’?
Dior 'saddle bag', Vivienne Westwood jacket
Brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Longchamp and Coach have gone even further to extend the equine associations beyond inspiration and directly into their brand names and logos.
No such invention was required by Hermès. The French brand originated as a harness workshop in the 1800’s creating expert saddles for the most privileged. In the 1920’s handbag production began and in 1937 the silk scarf was introduced. Riding equipment par excellence is still crafted today, but it is the silk scarf that is universally cherished. Seasonally adorned with horses, and related ephemera, it gives a glimpse into the world of the landed gentry without the required country pile and stables.
Brides de Gala and Coup de Fouet Hermès scarves
Hunting, horse racing, dressage and the cavalry are all common themes incorporated in the design of the equestrian silk scarf. Central, but not necessarily present is the horse, while the riding crops, straps, bits, bridles and buckles are the symbols that appear in popular pattern formations.
The ‘horsey look’ came to the fore in the 1980’s with the rise of the Sloane Ranger. While the velvet alice band may not have made a comeback, the equestrian aesthetic endures and has certainly entered the vintage firmament.
Vintage silk scarves from Marshmallow Mountain online store
Equestrian scarves are an ever popular style in our online collection of over 700 vintage silk scarves: