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Sixties Revival in Full Swing (March 9, 2004)

houndstooth check
Houndstooth checks on a jacket (left) and skirt (right) (Design Research Room of Kyoritsu Women's Junior College)
There is no better illustration of the cyclical nature of fashion trends than the 1960s revival that started last fall in Japan. Short dresses and skirts with tight silhouettes, pastel-colored wool coats, and other defining elements of sixties fashion are back on the streets again. These retro fashion items go well with the knit tops and boots that have been in vogue for a while now.

Comeback of a Classic
The most conspicuous trend associated with the sixties fashion revival is the return of houndstooth checks, and the comeback of this classic pattern lends a glamorous air to the retro styles. Trench coats and suits in the classic British look, which are cute yet also project a sharp image, have been popular for a while now, and the return of houndstooth checks is an extension of this phenomenon. Fashion-conscious women have latched onto the jagged check motif as the ideal pattern for adding a stylish accent to their wardrobes. The pattern, an indispensable element of the retro-modern look first popularized by actresses of the 1960s, comes in many variations. It seems that girls in their teens like their houndstooth checks big and bold, while working women in their twenties favor finer-grained ones. Even miniskirts (another sixties fashion item that has recently made a comeback) lose their adolescent quality and take on a refined air when they are made of houndstooth-patterned tweed, allowing them to be worn with class.

houndstooth check
A houndstooth-checked scarf

Aquascutum, a popular British retailer of classic-modern apparel, opened its first store in Japan last summer in Tokyo's Marunouchi district. The shop has caused a stir by offering fine-quality coats in special houndstooth patterns developed exclusively for sale in Japan.

Houndstooth Craze Extends to Other Items
Though the use of houndstooth patterns on dresses, skirts, and coats is a revival of 1960s fashion, they are also showing up in never-before-seen places: on the legwarmers that have been popular since last year, on mufflers and other winter fashion accessories, on cloth handbags, and even on such intimate apparel as camisoles and lingerie. Some women are pairing houndstooth checks with other patterns in combinations that previously would have been viewed as garish. One example would be a combo of a black-and-white houndstooth sweater and a black-and-white polka-dot scarf, along with striped socks. Some designers are having fun producing their own contemporary renditions of the classic houndstooth pattern; examples include using a black-and-yellow color scheme instead of the traditional black-and-white, and altering the lattice pattern. The popularity of houndstooth checks seems to have been fueled by the rearrangement of a classic pattern to give people a new means of expressing their individuality through fashion.

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Aquascutum (Japanese only)

Copyright (c) 2004 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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