PIED DE POULE A BRIEF HISTORY OF HOUNDSTOOTH

Modern yet universal, houndstooth is a staple print that never loses its luster. The black and white abstract checkerboard pattern with a vague resemblance to a chicken-foot print —known in French as the pied de poule and in English as houndstooth— first appeared in the 1800s in the Scottish lowlands. Then, it was called Shepherd’s check or Dogtooth, and was mostly used on woven wool cloth outerwear for sheepherders.

Even though the pattern was around for more than a century, the popularity of the print did not step into the fashion world until the 1930s, when it was initially adopted by the upper class as a status symbol for wealth. Christian Dior was one of the first designers to incorporate houndstooth in his designs for the 1948 Haute Couture spring/summer collection.

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Rather than weaving the pattern, as was the style of the British, Dior and subsequent designers, including Louis Vuitton and Chanel, would instead print the distinctive shapes onto fabric for their collections.

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From the Prince to the present, the caché of houndstooth is limitless. In 1969, the Porche 911 was available with contrasting houndstooth cloth seats.

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Houndstooth has come quite a long way from its early beginnings on the backs of sheepherders. Designers from across the globe have re-envisioned the traditional mosaic by toying with its color and scale.

The remixed print captivates the eye while paying tribute to the past. Houndstooth is a classic print for old and new fashionistas that never goes out of style.

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