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History of houndstooth

Written by Kerry Hayes

If you follow fashion and décor trends – and even if you don’t – you will have come across houndstooth, which is seeing a massive revival globally.

This classic duotone textile pattern is not a new trend, but has seen its way through centuries of experimentation and modification to suit the style needs of each generation.

Bonnie ol’ Scotland

First created in the 1800s in the Scottish lowlands, it is said that houndstooth was woven of wool and worn by shepherds as an outer garment. It was also worn by the local Scottish tribes to avoid arguments over stealing each other’s tartan. Originally created in a smaller design, it was termed puppytooth in the early days; with the larger format being known as dogstooth before it was reclassified more eloquently as houndstooth.

Houndstooth of the Baskervilles

In the 1930s, the design of alternating bands of four dark and four light threads in both warp and welt, grew to a status symbol, becoming a favourite motif of Christian Dior – and was also taken up by Coco Chanel and Sonia Rykiel. The Duke of Windsor, then still the Prince of Wales, was seen in a houndstooth jacket, and this status-symbol-design was immediately taken up by manufacturers from across the world, in the smaller puppytooth pattern. It was also a favourite of the iconic Audrey Hepburn; and was seen worn by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes in his legendary deerstalker cap.

Houndstooth at home

Today, houndstooth is a bold pattern used in many décor and furnishing items – from scatter cushions, to headboards, to occasional chairs. This pattern has even been seen in kitchens, as splashbacks. And it is not only used in the favourite black-and-white theme, but is cast in all colours of the rainbow, with today’s trend being neon.

Currently, houndstooth in décor is popular in the larger dogstooth format, and is seen in anything from upholstery fabric to wallpaper.






Kerry Hayes

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