Saturday, March 6, 2010

Aimez-vous mon beret?

The ever-lovely Brigitte Bardot

Memories of my childhood always include berets. A wore them A LOT as a little girl, slightly slanted (or course). They were one of my first fashion statements and trust me when I say I considered them that....
I can remember at least three colours - black, navy and yellow. The last one was a perfect match for a navy "sailor" coat I had and that, in turn, went with yellow and navy patent mary-janes! Can you believe what a little fashionista I was back then??

Marlene Dietrich in "No Highway in the Sky"

I grew up with berets..they were on the heads of both my grandfathers and they also visited my wide-open child's eyes thought the flickering light of our black-and-white TV....I always thought of them as the quintessential French my young mind, intelligent women who were plotting something good but very secret always wore berets...a berets was more of a message than an accessory meant to beatify - a signal of non-conformism, if you wish...

Charlotte Rampling
The beret has a long and fascinating history. Ancient Greek soldiers wore berets but it was the Basques of the French and Spanish Pyrenees who are commonly credited with popularizing the beret. There is also a theory (which I do not accept, in case you care) that the beret evolved from the Phrygian caps of the
French Revolution. Naaahh..

Christian Dior Fall 2010

The original Basque beret was either navy blue or red and just like the Scotch tam, it was woven in one piece – no seam or binding (crocheted or knitted pieces are not berets!)
In the 1920s, Marlene Dietrich popularized the beret - she was the first woman to wear the “paysan” garb, with which she scandalized “good” society.

The modern take on the beret: G-Star Ready-to-Wear Fall 2010

By WWII, both men and women were wearing the beret and it was adopted in a variety of colours. The French Resistance, the Maquis, adopted the Basque beret and given its popularity among everyday population, they were able to operate covertly based on this identifying symbol without attracting undue suspicion. The illicit flavor of the beret was further solidified when it was adopted as gear for a number of special forces around the world – eg: the Green Berets, the UN Blue Berets etc. The beret then took a short and natural leap onto the heads of revolutionaries like Che Guevara.
Stunning photography by Elliott Erwitt of Magnum Photos

This is how both of my grandpas dressed! Just like this!

I have a black beret..just the way it should be, woven in one piece with no seams...I have worn it one-and-off as an adult ...I stumbled across it in my closet just the other day and it inspired this post. When I held it in my hands, it gave me a sense of comfort and familiarity..I will wear it again all Spring...
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  1. Witaj(:
    Trafiłaś na wielbicielkę tegoż właśnie nakrycia głowy.
    Tak beret ma w "sobie" to coś,choć może teraz u nas (powiedzenie "moherowe berety")nie jest postrzegany jako krzyk mody.
    Ja natomiast w berecie czuję się jakoś tak wyjątkowo ważnie! ((:(może dla tego że znam jego historię)

  2. How odd!
    I had an interview for a position in a course yesterday and I needed a hat. It was raining (will it ever end?!) and I wanted something different. I donned my beige (one piece) beret and off I went. It was noticed. I was really comfy.
    I started a project a few months ago, when I still expected the fairies to finish the reno's, with vintage (dead stock)wool berets and vintage and antique buttons...To go in the elusive Etsy shop. Perhaps it is good, now they'll be on the runways and in the magazines when I put them up. :)
    Enjoyed this post very much AJ.

  3. oui, oui, oui -
    i have berets in about 5 colors - got them when my daughter was young... she has one of those head shapes and faces that hats love - lucky kid! i also came across them the other day and was tempted to pull them out...
    while almost any hat can be appreciated for style - there is something oh so special about berets...
    thank you so very much for this - loved it...

  4. Patrycja - dziekuje za komentarz - dla mnie to co nosza "mohery" to nie berety :) ....mam szczera nadzieje, ze sie z czasem berety w Polsce zrehabilituja! ox

    Andrea - thanks for popping in! Hope the interview has the outcome you hoped for! Berets are magical, I tell you - I am sure yours had an electric effect!...glad you have rain and not snow! oxo

    Maire - your comment about the link between hats in general and berets is super - all headpieces are special, in my view, but yes, berets have a special, almost magical quality...:) oxoxox

  5. your selection is great ... I have a black beret too !!

  6. Thanks, Isabelle - you have charming and inspiring photos on your blog! ox

  7. Ooo la la, I find the beret so chic. There is a confidence about the person wearing a beret I feel.

    Lovely shots,
    xxx Dj