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.