Patterns: Houndstooth (Pied-de-Poule)

When I said that I was going to write about Houndstooth, I received a few comments along the lines of "I love houndstooth." and so on, mostly from females. It seems that men are indifferent to houndstooth, I don't know if that's because they don't wear it proud, or because it's a suiting material, as opposed to a pattern, and they never really paid much attention. Men. Go figure. This needs more thought.

RL Style Guide Definition: A fabric, usually wool, with distinctive broken checks that resemble pinwheels or the pointed teeth of a hound.

Technical info: The traditional houndstooth check is made with alternating bands of four dark and four light threads in both warp and filling or weft woven in a simple 2:2 twill, two over - two under the warp, advancing one thread each pass.

Origin: Scotland Lowlands, Popularized by Edward VIII Prince of Wales in the 1930's. Houndstooth, the term, was first used in 1936.

AKA: Pied-de-Poule, Hound's Tooth, Houndstooth check

Common Variations: Glen plaid, Prince of Wales check

So, it was originally a mens woolen fabric and it's almost 90 years old, which begs to question the relevancy of the pattern Houndstooth itself. I started my research, I found that the weave is connected over the past hundred years, and it's difficult to determine who influenced who, but in the last ten years Houndstooth is almost everywhere. There are even Houndstooth Hater's out there. How could someone hate Houndstooth? Is it really that bad?

Since the 60's, Chanel has made Houndstooth one of their staples in their womenswear Prêt-à-Porte collections. Somehow in 2005, Houndstooth went viral (Sorry about that. It's lame, I know.) As with all interior design trends, it took about 2-5 years for interiors to catch up and now it's vomited on almost everything. Houndstooth is on panties, y-fronts, socks, hosiery, swimsuits (gawf), dinner wear, a trivet, on shoes, mopeds, tile, wallpaper, linens - EVERYWHERE. Don't believe me? Search "houndstooth underwear" - oh yeah, there it is in all it's glory! As proof, and additional support that interiors lag behind fashion, Elle Decor had Houndstooth as their 2011 Feb/Mar Trend Alert. I dropped Elle Decor as a subscription years ago when it was more about the advertising than it was about the content, but who knew they'd be relevant today. It's a lost leader mag anyway and I really think that the folks in the style dept. just keep a catalogue of patterns and pull one out willy nilly for each edition.

Anyway, what I know for certain is that Houndstooth has crossed over from a type of woven fabric to a type of pattern that has injected into our daily lives. How and where that happened, no one knows except for that it would be organically by manufacturers wanting to be popular. Houndstooth has lost it's exclusivity and rarity for sure, but as much as I might have said "I <3 Houndstooth" before, I'm saturated like 6 year old slipping on a Wet 'n Wild on a hot summers day. I really want that t-shirt, tho.

What pattern is next? I have thoughts, but tweet me @coreyklassen with your ideas!