5.01.2022

THIN-RIB CORDUROY

Velvet is neither a material nor a fabric, it is a particular type of weave – and a complex one at that. Consisting of a simple weave (which constitutes its basic structure) to which is attached an additional thread, called pile yarn. This pile yarn is cut to give the fabric its satin appearance. Velvet therefore has a smooth, matt surface on the reverse side and a lustrous, fluffy surface on the front.

The English make a distinction between velvet and corduroy. The former was more luxurious and was reserved for the aristocracy, while the latter was used for work clothes. Corduroy appeared at the end of the 18th century in England. Used by workers, artists and students, it was for a long time considered the “poor man’s velvet”.

In the 1970s, corduroy gained popularity and was used by Levis and Lee in the manufacture of 5-pocket trousers for the younger generation. Corduroy was appreciated for its durability and feel. Tommy Nutter and Renoma also used it in suits and formal trousers. However, in order to keep an impeccable cut and a perfectly structured cigarette shoulder, these tailors used corduroy with thiner ribs. Sometimes made from a mixture of cotton and cashmere, this type of corduroy is more luxurious than coarse-ribbed corduroy. It is called in French “milleraies” – literally “thousand lines” and takes its name from the number of ribs per metre of fabric: about 1000.

Arnys made velvet its fabric of choice for its forest jackets, inspired by the velvet jackets with high collars and patch pockets worn by the forest rangers of Sologne. The Rive Gauche house made a more luxurious jacket, also choosing milleraie velvets or cotton and cashmere blends.

From the workers of the North of England to the Rolling Stones and the Parisian minets, milleraie velvet became the uniform of the creative people. So much so that the chairman of the UK Trade Commission told The Times in 1965 that the Beatles had “saved the English corduroy industry”.

HUSBANDS

BLACK THIN-RIB CORDUROY TROUSERS
Rodney Graham, Media Studies 77, 2016

Rodney Graham, Media Studies 77, 2016

Pierre Richard in Le Distrait, Paris, 1970

Pierre Richard in Le Distrait, Paris, 1970

Mick Jagger by Cecil Beaton, 1968

Mick Jagger by Cecil Beaton, 1968

Vogue Uomo ad, december 1972

Vogue Uomo ad, december 1972