The Lost Cord

Yesterday we looked at Dustin Hoffman’s corduroy jacket in The Graduate.

 

Today, just a quick word about corduroy by way of scotching one of the great rag trade myths: that of the origin of the word corduroy.

 

Legend has it that the word corduroy derives from the French phrase “cord du roi” or “cloth of the king” – giving the fabric regal connotations.

 

It’s a great tale. But it’s not true. We are working here on the central tenet of British journalism: why let the truth get in the way of a good story.

 

The word – and, indeed, the cloth itself – is of English, not French origin. The first syllable seems plain: cord. The second is most likely derived from the old cloth known as duroy, a coarse, hard-wearing woolen fabric.

 

The French would actually know such a cloth as velours côtelé. Elsewhere in mainland Europe it is often referred to as Manchester Cloth.

 

So there you go.

 

www.hornetskensington.co.uk

Hornets Vintage the Online Shop

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