THE most prestigious night in fashion got under way on Monday night in New York City.

The Met Gala takes place every year on the first Monday in May and is the most glamorous and exclusive event of the year for fashion icons across the world.

The Super Bowl of the fashion industry, it captivates an audience of millions across the world every year and its purpose is to raise money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s costume institute.

Famed for its extravagant annual themes, the theme of this year’s event was the legacy of Karl Lagerfeld. A somewhat disappointing choice of theme given the many controversies that surround that legacy.

Be it right or wrong, Lagerfeld is one of the most widely recognised and celebrated names in the history of haute couture – having designed for Chanel, Fendi, Chloe and Balmain to name a few.

Lagerfeld’s indelible creative genius was the inspiration behind the classic Chanel flap, the double-C logo, the Fendi double F.

Creatively speaking, he was undoubtedly a fashion and design pioneer that almost single-handedly crafted the biggest trends in fashion history.

It is a shame that he was such an insufferably terrible person outwith his creative talents.

Whilst he was undisputedly talented, he was also a happily problematic man who was notorious for being fatphobic, was one of the main drivers behind unsustainable weight requirements for runway models, and publicly denounced the #MeToo movement.

To name but a few controversies that mired, and at times (rightly) entirely drowned out his success as a designer.

I sat up, as I do every year, to watch the endless flow of creation by the world’s greatest designers grace the iconic steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Whilst there were a few notable successes, like Dua Lipa in vintage Chanel and Anne Hathaway in Versace tweed, this year’s outfits were largely a nod to the lack of creativity within the theme.

The last to grace the red carpet was Rihanna, and her partner A$AP Rocky, who showed up wearing a tartan fabric draped over his trousers.

And it got me thinking about the lasting, global impact of Scotland’s design industry and the legacy of Scotland’s talented creatives.

The history of tartan dates back to the third century – in some areas of the world, there is evidence of tartan patterns dating back to 3000BC – but the Scottish Highlands is where tartan gained the cultural significance it’s known for today.

Tartan became so synonymous with Scotland, and particularly Highland Scotland, that following the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the government forbade Highland dress and the production of tartan garments went into decline until the act was repealed in an attempt to quieten rebellious Scots.

Two hundred and seventy-seven years on, evidently, that was a somewhat fruitless mission.

The popularity of tartan soared in the 18th century and there are now more than 7000 unique tartan designs across the world. It’s no surprise then that tartan as a design concept has often seeped into the works of various different global fashion houses.

John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood are some of the most renowned for incorporating tartan into their sought-after and exclusive work.

Some of the greatest visionaries in the fashion industry have routinely used tartan patterns in their designs, and it remains to this day a highly influential and in-demand design concept from high fashion to the high street.

Famed for the juxtaposition of its existence – it’s been described as both “rebellious” and “regal” – tartan is a timeless concept, never to go out of fashion.

Alexander McQueen famously cemented himself as not just an artist but as an activist with his Autumn/Winter show of 1995, titled controversially “Highland Rape” in a direct reference to the raping of the Scottish throne by the English army and the Highland Clearances.

McQueen – who traced his family lineage back to the Isle of Skye – revisited his Scottish roots again in 2006, where his “Willows of Culloden” collection told the story of the widows of Scots men following the final Jacobite defeat at Culloden.

Both collections were a firm portrayal of McQueen’s love and honouring of his Scottish heritage – as well as his disdain for the British establishment – and secured his place on the global fashion stage not just as a designer, but as a celebrated artist.

Tartan burst into the punk scene in the 1970s with the creative genius of Vivienne Westwood. What Westwood created was not only an ode to Scotland’s rich culture and history, but was also a massively anti-establishment movement – and tartan was the uniform.

Throughout history, tartan has long been the dress code of rebellion – and Westwood brought that to life on a global scale.

Westwood continued on that theme throughout her career, even famously having her models wear “Yes” badges on the runway in a show of support for Scottish independence.

Vivienne Westwood’s designs remain a phenomenon and on the off chance that Anna Wintour reads The National, it could be argued that a Vivienne Westwood-themed Met Gala would have yielded much better outfits than this year’s unfortunate choice.

Certainly an idea for the future.

Although the most obvious, Scotland’s influence in fashion design does not begin and end with tartan.

Scotland’s fabric and textiles industry is world-famous for good reasons – and companies like Pringle of Scotland have secured their prominence with decades of international success and Hollywood endorsement.

Even Dundee’s Dennis the Menace managed to become a worldwide fashion icon thanks to the likes of Kurt Cobain who took inspiration from Desperate Dan and his striped jumper.

Scotland has long been a design powerhouse and we saw its international relevance displayed again on the steps of the Met on Monday evening.

Scotland has underpinned and influenced global fashion trends for centuries, and even when we don’t recognise the relevance that we hold in this space, the Scottish knack for creativity remains ubiquitous in fashion houses across the globe and remains a prominent source of education on the history of our country.

Centuries of our tradition and culture have dressed the backs of some of the world’s biggest stars, both our greatest triumphs and our sorest defeats are interwoven in the fabrics of some of the most influential fashion houses in the world and have underpinned some of the biggest fashion moments in the history of the fashion industry.

Scottish fashion design – and Scotland-inspired fashion design – is not just fashion.

It is art, culture and history combined and deserves every second of the international prominence it enjoys to this day. I’ll look forward to that future Met Gala theme.