Corduroy pops up on our fashion radar again every year. Our fashion editor Madeleine has picked out the best pieces
My grandfather Robert had corduroy pants. He liked wearing them on weekends and was really happy with them. Corduroy pants never wear out and were for little boys, he told me. And with the background that I wanted to be one at the time, it seemed logical to me that I needed a pair. I’d have to wait. My mother thought they were unfashionable. It was years later that I’d get my first pair, when I was a teenager and they were declared a trend. Mine were by Eddie Pen and I was awfully cool. Then flares came in and my corduroy pants quickly had to go.
And here we go again now. Miuccia Prada had a feel for corduroy early on: Almost every second look featured the longitudinally-ribbed fabric at the men’s winter show, where women also walked for the Pre-Fall Collection. A bit later, at the Fall/Winter 2017 women’s shows, Marc Jacobs presented the most casual suit in burgundy, Y/Project got me thinking about a corduroy coat (should I do it?), and Margaret Howell’s corduroy pants are as good as mine. Mango and & Other Stories got the hint and are following suit.
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Corduroy: Wear it now or later, but it was also worn much earlier – this game has been going on for a long time. Back in the 17th and 18th centuries, noblemen liked the fabric for sporty activities. With the help of looms, large amounts of corduroy were produced in Manchester over the course of the 18th century. The fabric was suddenly available in large quantities – and affordable. So the fabric lost its glamor and found its way to the working class and its clothing. They would be known as “Manchester trousers” for years, the noble origins of the word in the French corde du roi (“cord of the king”) forgotten.
Then the dust was finally brushed off. Starting in the 19th century, the long-lasting and robust fabric returned to the salon with the Parisian bohème. Well, and then a lot of people tried it out afterwards: hippies, anarchists, politicians.
We’re also allowed to slip into corduroy again from time to time – and definitely this winter. If you don’t like corduroy pants, then you also have other choices: jackets, skirts, hats, shorts, shoes, and so on. There’s a wide selection – grandpa Robert would like it.