Weekend Inspiration

11 12 2010

We can’t get enough of Saint James Sailor tees.  There are 4 new styles of white and navy blue striped in the shop now.  My mother still saved my old tees of the kids version somewhere in her closet from our fist trip to France in the late 70’s. Thanks Salwa for reintroduced us to Saint James.

Known in English as Breton sweater after the French province of Brittany, la marinière is as French as baguette.  Originally created for the French navy, the uniform was first co-opted by French sailors and mariners and seafarers and fisherman and other nautical men, becoming the iconic marinière, visual metonym for sailor and sea, marin being French for sailor.

The utiliarian uniform was adopted and adapted by Coco Chanel (above) in the early 20th century. Oft-repeated iterations by Gaultier and Galliano keep this look in the lexicon. As does the fact that every woman in France owns several versions of Saint James.

The Breton striped shirt came into being following the 27th March, 1858 Act of France which introduced the navy and white striped knitted shirt as the uniform for all French navy seaman.

This photo of Picasso makes me so happy.  I love his sense of humour.

Originally the shirt featured 21 stripes.  One for each of Napoleon’s victories.  It was also said that these stripes allowed to locate more easily if a man fallen into the sea to be rescued.  As you can see Picasso was a big fan.

Audrey Tautou wearing one of the iconic Breton shirt in the movie Coco Before Chanel.

The Saint James Company has been established in Lower Normandy, close to Mont Saint-Michel, since 1889.  All the pieces are still made in France.

Hope you can take one or two of these classic and timeless Breton tops home with you.  Wishing you a lovely weekend.

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