What is Chevron Print?

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Chevron the Catwalk Bag. Modcloth.com

A Chevron print consists of inverted “v” shapes in what looks like a zigzag pattern.   Many recognize a chevron print in popular Missoni prints.  Not familiar with Missoni?  You must know the sweater worn by Charlie Brown.  This is a chevron. 

Yet, the chevron print has a much older history than the sweater worn by a cartoon character or the pattern of a famous designer.   The chevron actually dates all the way back to 1800 BC in ancient Greece where it was seen in  many forms of ancient art, such as pottery and stone carvings.

The word chevron dates back to the 14th century when the popular pattern received an official name.   The origin is French (and Latin) and it is derived from the resemblance of the pattern to building rafters. The chevron figure has also been used for decades in the form of insignias in the military to show rank, particularly in the English Arms.  is usually associated with the emblems and symbols used in military or police uniforms.

You will also often find a chevron pattern in parquet floors, which is why there was a resurgence of popularity in this pattern in the 19th century Paris when the city was redesigned and many new apartments had modern chevron parquet flooring.  Parquet floors continue to be very popular in many urban dwellings.

If you are wondering the difference between a chevron, a zig zag and a herringbone, there really isn't much difference. 

A zig zag is solid in color with flowing stripes that peak on reverse sides of the line of symmetry.

 

A chevron is a variation to the zig zag, and is also made of flowing stripes that peak on opposite sides of the line of symmetry. However, it is not made of solid stripes. Each segment of the chevron from one peak to the next mark the beginning and end of each color segment. This is normally done in a pattern.

Herringbone is named for its resemblance to the skeleton of a Herring and has Celtic roots dating back to 600 BC with the traditional use of the motif seen in wool tweeds from Ireland. Use of the herringbone can be traced back to Egyptian textiles, jewels of ancient kings and the patterns of paving stones used for Roman highways. 

The difference between a chevron and herringbone pattern is how each pattern changes direction.  While the herringbone is also similar to the zig zag, because it also has the flowing stripes that peak on the opposite sides of the line of symmetry, the herringbone’s color segments are all rectangular. Each segment is rectangular with right angles on all four corners. In the herringbone, the segments from peak to peak have 2 colors included, the main one and a bit from the previous or next one.

Undoubtedly, Missoni should be credited with the popularity of the chevron print.  The distinctive design created by Tai and Rosita Missoni in 1953 and was originally championed by Diana Vreeleand, editor of Vogue Magazine at the time.  From this, Missoni hit the peak of popularity in the 70's.  Tai and Rosita Missoni headed up the line until 1996 when they handed off the responsibilities to their daughter, Angela.

  Needless to say, the company has managed to stay ahead of the trends and and has remained an iconic design house. 

This pattern has an especially retro vibe, and was especially popular in the '70s. In recent years, chevron has made an enormous comeback, particularly when Target launched a collaboration with Missoni, introducing the brand to many consumers who never heard of this this designer. While chevron has a mod feel to it, the print can be seen in today’s most chic outfits. You can easily find chevron print on anything, from skirts to handbags. Metal jewelry can also be found in chevron metal shapes, creating a trendy and geometric look.  The chevron will remain a classic for decades to come while remaining trendy, hip, eye catching and fresh at the same time.