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Pay Homage to Classic Beret Hat

After experiencing sales slump for decades, stereotypical French beret sold at high prices in Paris boutiques. Some believes that such a comeback of berets is sartorial. Such berets are regarded as a symbol of France, along with the accordion, baguette and Citroën 2CV. The French Laulhère is the last beret-maker, a supplier of traditional headgear to the French army. The supplier opened a boutique in Paris, shouldering with many luxurious brands like Hermès and YSL. At the start, woolen berets in the shape of discs were headpieces of male, topping on heads of shepherds and artisans. In the 18th and 19th century, berets were accepted by artists and then armies. Then, berets evolved to today’s female fashion accessories.

In 1895, Picasso painted rural France at the age of 14. Rural France is a symbol of a bygone. Many stars and celebrities have been photographed topping berets like Madonna, Brigitte Bardot and Samuel L Jackson, despite its falling out of fashion for a long time. It’s said that the word beret’s first appear was in France in 1835. The time should date back to the 16th century when they were regarded as head covering. Even powerful historians could not figure out its origination, possibly from Spain, the Middle East or Scotland. In the 16th century, Glasgow owned five bonnet-makes, and all of them turned out to tam o’shanters.

Over the years, hats have witnessed remarkable changes among clients. Laulhère sells various berets at different prices, spanning from €87 to €1,000.  All their berets are made of the finest wool, leather, sequins and stones. Although it is one of the oldest beret-maker, Laulhère concerned headgear’s future five years ago. But now, its turnover has rocketed to €3m as they sell about 200,000 berets one year. A member of the beret-maker indicates that the most expensive berets are designed to meet luxurious demands of tourists. Although not the only beret-maker in France, Laulhère owns the last history.

All factors like farm workers, philosophers and gamines who wink astride their bicycles are classic icons of French life. Wearing low over the brow is one distinct image of France; in addition, there are also other classic scenes, including tipping back like a carefree Bereton sailor, topping aslant like a Resistance heroine and the like. At present, those above scenes have vanished from daily life, and remnants of the beret industry are seeking their ways of survival.

french beret

There are also thousands of online stores dedicated to headpieces. I would like to recommend one. The website https://berethat.co.uk/ almost assembles all kinds of berets. Customers could find favorite on the website. And many will come back and place orders after shopping around. For the sake of high-quality and cheerful prices, many keeps their loyalty to the website. I have saved a large sum of money when they launch a sales promotion, because most items on the website are simple but timeless. Only basic and minimalist berets are enough to handle various occasions. So please rest assured to purchase items from the website for reliable quality.

Beret Mania

What do celebrities like Rihanna, Che Guevara and the Kardashian have in common? They are all crazy about berets. As the most fashionable French hat, designers try to meet a variety of demands while keeping up fashion flair as much as possible. In Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first autumn winter show last year, each model topped one beret on their heads, then berets became the epitome of cool.

Berets are to hats what T-shirts are to clothing. A British famous milliner who have contributed to create a cult Dior line for Chiuri. Berets almost suit everybody, including young, old, rich, poor, male and female. The black leather Dior beret on Rihanna’s head was sold for $999  on eBay. Such a salvage Black Panther attitude reveals from shelves, adding fashion flair to fashionistas. Many famous people have been spotted photographs of berets, such as Princess Charlene of Monaco, Meghan Markle, Jenner-Kardashians and Hadid sisters, etc. It’s said that the Duchess of Cambridge is also a long time fan of berets.

At the time of declaring from The Guradian, fashion critics also celebrated the comeback of berets, which free many from their beanies. Fashion house Gucci and celebrity like Marc Jacobs have also got involved in the act. In the meantime, the last historic French beret milliner tried to keep up with demands at full stretch.

Embellishments

A newly opened shop between Paris luxurious Rue St Honore Hermes and Prada sells headpieces with pearls, leathers and satins. Hats with such embellishments always are bestsellers. Most headpieces retail at from €450 to €500. Traditional felt beret or felt hat are sold at more modest prices €35. Unveiling such berets aim at meet demands from fashionists, but the number is limited. In other words, anyone who would like to get such cheep and cheerful hats shall order as soon as possible. Otherwise, one could not own such modest headpieces.

beret
Beret

At the time of beginning of Paris fashion week, retailer Sebastien Reveillard told AFP that many customers order two or three items from boutique at a time. Many colors have been sold as long as they could get it. Almost everybody would like to get them. In addition to timeless style, one highlight of berets is its availability in many occasions.

Sources also indicate that the modest factory nestles in the foothills of Pyrenees at Oloron-Sainte-Marie is keeping up with demands at full stretch. But he also said there is no quick solution to solve booming demands. Every beret needs two days of skilled craftsmen, in spite of incredible amount of hand work involved in.

The felting process, a very important work flow, needs from 11 hours to 18 hours. A director said that they have needed water from a river next to the factory. It is the same reason that they could not hire enough workers in such a rural area; water from the mountains featuring rich minerals would be unavailable to them if they relocate the factory.

Some comments that revival of berets are timeless. Berets are something fantastic in their hands. At the same time, they are also items featuring incredible history and cultural importance.

Craftsmanship of Making a Felt Beret

At present, I will give more detailing about wet-felting. After finshed four-layer circle, press and check whether weak points. And fill them if necessary. These weak points will form holes in the felting process. Cut a piece of tulle with larger diameter than that of template. Fix it so there are enough tulle to overlap the other side slightly. Add hot water and two to three drops of detergent, then shake and spray water onto fibers. Press down gently and remove excess fibers. Do not rub them energetically, otherwise fibers will leave the fixed position. Turn it over and lay the tulle on the bottom. It would be better if you put a cardboard on the top.

Flip over the beret. Fold overhang wool towards the center of the other side. Lay rovings to the wrong side of the template as what have been done the first side. The first layer should go around the center. And the second layer should in the opposite direction, leaving all fibers pointing to the center. On the side, place wool right up to the edge. There is no need to leave wool overhanging to the edge. Continue adding other two-layer fibers. Add a small ring of fibers along the circle on the template. Press down on fibers to check weak points. Then overlap it with another tulle. Repeat previous steps, spraying soapy water. After press down with hands, press it with a dry towel to blot extra water. Remove the tulle.

Push fibers towards the center of the beret in case the edge is a little baggy, so that they could align with edges once again. Set aside the tulle for use. Process the other side as above. Smooth wrinkles slightly. Shroud the beret with bubblewrap, and keep bubbles towards inside. Roll up the bubblewrap until forming a cylinder.

Roll the bubblewrap and beret up inside the towel. Roll backwards and forwards, like a rolling pin, about 50 times. It’s easier and less tiring to roll using your forearms. Unroll the towel and bubblewrap, turn the beret to another position, then roll up again.

Roll backwards and forwards another 50 times. Do this 5-6 times, turning the beret each time, as well as turning it over. The fibre shrinks in the direction it’s rolled, so you need to turn the beret so it keeps its shape.

Then take out the beret and place it on a large towel. After remove the resist from the inside of the beret, one needs remove creases through soapy water and massages. Then rinse beret in warm water, hot water and cold water subsequently. Then soak it in a mixture of water and a spoon of white vinegar.

Place the beret on a hat block or polystyrene head to dry.

Felt is ready when it feels smooth and dense. The longer you agitate it, the stiller the felt becomes. All above steps are detailed information about wet-felting. The beret hat is a hand-made artefact. So cherish in a good way.