Our Printroductions series is kicking off with a classic. Get to know where
houndstooth got its name, what it looks like, and what makes it iconic.
Why do they call it houndstooth?
Houndstooth takes its name from the tooth-like individual shapes that tessellate to form the overall pattern. Puppy tooth is an alternative name used for small-scale
versions of the houndstooth pattern.
What does houndstooth look like?
Houndstooth is traditionally two-tone and often described as a broken check. The
standard variation is black and white but, over the years, designers have reimagined
the classic in countless colourways. A houndstooth that sticks with tradition might be woven into wool. However, this versatile pattern also works as an elegant graphic
print. Still curious? Don’t worry, there are plenty of examples to follow!
What is houndstooth used for?
Houndstooth can be used in the design of almost any product! Fashion lovers will
know that the pattern has a long history of featuring in garments and is particularly
popular for outerwear pieces like coats and blazers. Automotive enthusiasts might
recognise houndstooth from 1960s car interiors, manufactured by the likes of
Porsche and Chevrolet. For me, the pattern makes for the ultimate accent in any luxury interior. I’m sure you’ll agree after a glance at 1 Place Vendôme - a
spectacularly stylish, houndstooth-heavy space in Paris by Florence-based architect
Who made houndstooth famous?
Houndstooth owes its enduring popularity in part to Christian Dior. Early references
to the pattern date from the 1930s, but the designer catapulted it into the mainstream
from the 1940s onwards. The motif featured in Dior clothes, shoes, and even
perfume packaging. In fact, houndstooth has become a go-to for designers giving a
nod to the past. Plastered with the pattern and parodying the relentless pace of high
fashion, Alexander McQueen’s 2009 Horn of Plenty collection is a great example of
Beyoncé recently reignited this trend, wearing an all-over printed outfit pictured here on Instagram
Life in houndstooth wasn’t always so glamorous though. The pattern
was actually worn by Shepherds living in the Scottish lowlands as early as the 18th Century. The very first example of houndstooth, though, is the Gerum Cloak; A Pre-Roman Iron Age garment from approx 300BC discovered in a peat bog in Sweden! Zoom in and spot the soft houndstooth…amazing!
Why is houndstooth so popular?
Houndstooth is still so popular today because it has stood the test of time.
This, as well the fact that it is easily adapted and works wonders in every context, makes it a classic.
If you’re inspired to add a touch of timeless houndstooth to your interior, or you’re curious about our collections, give us a call.