[Today's post is written by our special guest Madelaine Veenstra of the amazing resource WikiFashion. I get much of my information for posts from her project, so I suggested she write something and cross post it here. SO glad I did!]
Audrey made it look gamine, Coco introduced it to the fashion world and Brigit Bardot made it synonymous with French chic, but where did the Breton stripe originate? The Breton stripe as we know it today, came about through the 1858 Act of France, which introduced the navy and white striped knitted shirt as part of the Navy uniform in Brittany. The distinctive block pattern was thought to make it easier to
spot the sailors amongst the waves.
Saint James, which released the Saint James Binic II Breton shirts in 1889, is still in production today.
Fun fact: the true Breton pattern includes 21 stripes, one for each of Napolean’s victories.
The pattern has been used throughout fashion and film history. It was Coco Chanel who introduced the print to her nautical collection in 1917 after becoming inspired by a trip to the French Coast. This was a dramatic breakaway from the heavily corseted fashion of the time and marked the transition towards casual women’s wear.
The Breton has now become synonymous with chic Parisian style. It was made famous throughout the last century by the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Brigit Bardot, Pablo Picasso and Audrey Hepburn.
Did you know that Jean Paul Gaultier requires his press team to wear a version of the Breton during his runway showings?
Read more on Wikifashion: http://wikifashion.com/wiki/Breton_stripes
And here are some fun examples of the Breton Stripe you can own today: