The crazy story of the Basque beret

Béret basque Lauhlère, 100% mérinos, couleur passion.

Posted Oct 2, 2022, 2:01 PM

It is difficult to date precisely the birth of the beret, but it is under the reign of Napoleon III that it passes to posterity. The Emperor, who frequented Biarritz during the construction of Empress Eugénie’s palace, discovered this headgear and nicknamed it the Basque beret. Initially the prerogative of peasants and shepherds in the southwest and Spain, it spread throughout France and around the world. It becomes a widespread military accessory, probably the most worn headgear by men in arms. Colors, widths, and finishes vary in each region and in each army corps.

Over the years, it has become one of the unofficial emblems of the country, often used in caricatures of French people. From the 1930s, it was acclaimed by Parisian fashion designers who made it a feminine fashion accessory. Jean-Paul Gaultier and Kenzo Takada make it sexy. In the 1960s, the Black Panthers were inspired by its military aura, just like Che Guevara. Brigitte Bardot wears one alongside Gainsbourg in the Bonnie & Clyde music video in 1968. She will be followed by many pop and rebel icons, from Johnny Rotten to Jack Nicholson, from Robin Williams to Pharrell.

Material : Usually knitted from felted wool – originally unbleached – steamed to tighten the fibers and make them waterproof. The shapes and colors vary a lot, such as the inner linings and the outer hem.

Rating : The second hand is not recommended, as often the models worn on the skin. In new, Maison Lauhlère has been making them for generations and the English brand AWMS is also worth a look. Lauhlère Basque beret, 100% merino, color passion, 119 euros.

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