Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Breton Stripes

Like running into an old friend on the street, or rediscovering your favourite book as a school kid (I recently stumbled upon The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton and got swept up in its charms!), there is something particularly nice about approaching the beloved-but-forgotten with fresh eyes. The same is true with style. Though the fashion industry is notoriously cyclical and known to revisit its past for inspiration, it is always a pleasant surprise to see an oldie, suddenly become a goodie. I had one such epiphany while shopping with a few girlfriends at the mall, and one friend mentioned how these nautical stripes were everywhere. I mean, in every fashion retail, in every chain store, and on everybody, when just only a couple of seasons back, people shied away from horizontal stripes. On more than one occasion, a girlfriend and I would show up,  both wearing a black and white breton tee. (Great minds think alike, eh.) Anyways. Breton stripes is the ultimate non-trend trend. Period.
Being what I am, a fashion history junkie, I had to research its humble French beginnings. Now, let me provide you, dear readers, with a little context. The breton stripe tee originated in Brittany- a French province that occupies the peninsula between the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay -which may explain its nautical affiliation. Like many cornerstones of women's wardrobe pieces, it started as a practical and pragmatic garment for men, protecting fishermen from the cold. The long-sleeved cotton garment usually has a boat neck and traditionally, the stripes begin around the breastbone. Guess what else I found out? Picasso was a fan, as were Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel, Audrey Hepburn and Andy Warhol. It was only a matter of time before designers appropriated the stripes, endlessly spinning them with their own twists, from Jean-Paul Gaultier and Sonia Rykiel, to Marc Jacobs and Balmain, glittering with bold shoulders (F/W 09 collection). Very on trend n'est ce pas? 
I love it how these nautical stripes manage to be preppy yet casual, chicly feminine yet boyish, and wonderfully French.
Image by: ragpony.blogspot.com

No comments:

I am 23, going on 13

This has almost nothing to do with the Sound of Music. Let me just say that apparently I’m 30 going on 13. I don’t know what happened bu...