The French call it Pied de Poule and the English know it as houndstooth—but whatever you call it, this classic yet modern textile pattern is eternally stylish. And this autumn, the fashion press is calling houndstooth print a major trend for Fall 2019.
Houndstooth first appeared in the 1800s in the Scottish lowlands on woven wool outerwear for sheepherders. It was then called Shepherd’s Check or Dogtooth, coined after its similarity to the shape of a dog’s tooth. Houndstooth is a prime example of the art of tessellation – an arrangement of shapes in a repeated pattern that doesn’t overlap or leave gaps. Originally woven in black and white, the duotone has been cast in other hues over the intervening 100+ years.
FROM FIELD TO FASHION
In the 1930s, houndstooth became a status symbol among the wealthy classes. The abstract print became incredibly popular both in England and abroad when then Prince of Wales, Edward the VII, began wearing the check for his everyday attire. This royal fashion influencer caused something of a business boon for fabric and clothing manufacturers trying to keep up with the public demand for houndstooth.
French designer, Christian Dior, was one of the first to move houndstooth from Scottish fields to fashion runways, debuting it in his 1948 Haute Couture Spring/Summer collection.
In 1959, Roger Vivier designed elegant houndstooth court shoes for Christian Dior called the Tibet heel because it is shaped like a small inverted pyramid.
Coco Chanel also favoured houndstooth for her menswear-inspired separates and it has remained a strong motif for the house right up to the current season in Karl Lagerfeld’s final Chanel collection- Fall 2019.
From the Prince to the present, the caché of houndstooth is limitless. In 1969, the Porche 911 was available with contrasting houndstooth cloth seats.
MY VINTAGE HOUNDSTOOTH
Sadly, I don’t own a vintage Porche, but I do have a few houndstooth pieces in my wardrobe. The Yaeger coat on the left is down to my ankles, so although the other one looks short, it’s not. The belted coat also has a marvellous over-cape attached to the back.
FALL TREND ALERT: Coats With Super-long Hems, Every Good Superhero Needs a Cape
Like white shirts, you can never have too many blazers, can you? This one is Italian with a wonderfully long-lined, fitted, double-breasted structure.
FALL TREND ALERT: Prep School; Cinched Suiting; Power Shoulder
If you don’t already have some houndstooth lurking in your closet, now is the time to add some.
SHOP HOUNDSTOOTH @ NET-A-PORTER
SEE MY POST: Iconic Houndstooth