The Phuket News Premier League predictions The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News
The Phuket News World News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

The Basque beret, from peasant cap to ‘emblem of France’

FRANCE: The beret has come a long way since its humble beginnings as the headgear of choice for pelota players in the Basque country, becoming a must-have accessory as far afield as China.

culture,


AFP

Saturday 27 August 2016, 03:27PM


In Oloron-Sainte-Marie, France’s ‘Basque Beret Capital’, one company, the House of Laulhere, lays claim to being the oldest producer of the flat cap. Photo: Iroz Gaizka/AFP
In Oloron-Sainte-Marie, France’s ‘Basque Beret Capital’, one company, the House of Laulhere, lays claim to being the oldest producer of the flat cap. Photo: Iroz Gaizka/AFP

The jaunty topper preferred by Che Guevara and Pablo Picasso added a saucy touch to Monica Lewinsky’s look in a famous photo of her getting a hug from then president Bill Clinton at a 1996 White House event.

In Oloron-Sainte-Marie, France’s “Basque Beret Capital”, one company, the House of Laulhere, lays claim to being the oldest producer of the flat cap, turning them out for nearly 200 years.

The beret will never go out of fashion, says commercial director Mark Saunders.

“The image of the Frenchman with a baguette under the arm and a beret on his head is obsolete only in the minds of the French,” says the 47-year-old Irishman.

“Overseas, the beret is the emblem of France, synonymous with luxury and fashion,” he says, noting that Monaco’s Princess Charlene donned a Laulhere beret for her first public appearance after the birth of her twin girls two years ago.

Laulhere is now one of the last firms to produce berets that are 100 per cent made in France.

“Just 30 years ago in this region there were 22 beret factories,” Saunders says in fluent French tinged with an Irish brogue.

A few new manufacturers have sprung up recently in nearby Bearn, including some that simply put the finishing touches on berets that they buy wholesale, he notes.

“We are not the last French maker but the last historic maker of the French beret,” Saunders says with a twinkle in his eye.

Laulhere has a counterpart in the Spanish Basque country just over the border, Boinas Elosegui, in the town of Tolosa in the shadow of the Pyrenees.

Founded in 1858, it is the only Spanish company to make fine quality Basque berets. Like Laulhere, at Boinas Elosegui almost the entire process from weave to finish is carried out by hand using pure virgin merino wool.

C and C Marine

Laulhere’s unique know-how earned the company the coveted national distinctions of Living Heritage Enterprise and Guaranteed Origin France in 2012.

“One of the secrets is the felting, in which the berets are washed for between five and seven hours with water from the river Gave,” Saunders said. “The minerals in the Gave water give the Laulhere berets their feel, which you cannot achieve with tap water.”

The firm was on the edge of bankruptcy in 2012 when it was bought by the Cargo holding company grouping around 15 small businesses in southwestern France.

Now, with a staff of 45 producing 200,000 berets per year and a turnover of 2.9 million euros (B110mn)) in 2015, the company has three main markets.

The traditional “Heritage” beret makes up 35% of its output; another 30% goes to military clients in France and around the world, with the rest going to haute-couture thanks to the fashion trend set by designers such as Dolce & Gabbana, John Galliano, Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren.

It is also the official supplier of France’s rugby team.

Nearly a third of its production is for export, with clients in around 20 countries including Japan, China and the United States.

The process involves 10 main stages using purpose-built “top-secret” equipment.

The knitting is now mechanised, but all the other stages are performed by hand – including felting, dying, shaping, shaving, finishing and garnishing.

The basic beret costs 25 euros (B969), while luxury models can be priced at as much as 1,400 euros (B54,237).

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:

Comments Left: Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail: (No Hotmail, Live, MSN and Outlook accepted at this time)
Security:
   => Forget password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments


Experts back move to buy speed cams

With the greatest respect this is nonsense. The number of road deaths in thailand has increased again this year which shows that speed cameras don'...(Read More)


Experts back move to buy speed cams

Lets hope they budget for paper for tickets this time, unlike the current useless cameras in Kamala and elsewhere. 'the rest is rewarded to th...(Read More)


Phuket tourists dissatisfied with beach trash and water quality, reveals survey

"It's generally Thai's that drop their.."Of course a tourist would never do this.They are all so educated.As biased as it get!...(Read More)


Phuket tourists dissatisfied with beach trash and water quality, reveals survey

The tourists no longer come to Phuket because there isn't much they do like about the beaches anymore. Pollution, trash, jet-skis, no chairs + um...(Read More)


Phuket tourists dissatisfied with beach trash and water quality, reveals survey

Worst part is it's generally Thais that drop their rubbish wherever they go, I see it every day and it's because of a lake of education...(Read More)


Phuket tourists dissatisfied with beach trash and water quality, reveals survey

To clean the beach is easy. You need bins all along the back of the beach under the trees for the trash. Then as 90% of the beach is for the jet ski a...(Read More)


Vietjet launches Phuket, Ho Chi Minh flights

I am sorry to say, but the photos are regarding Bangla Road in Patong, yes? Has Patong now a night club with a aircraft cabin scene? This is not a...(Read More)


Man nearly loses hand in ice crusher

Lucky man! I wish him good recovery. "Safety first" at work apply to employer and employee. Work-safe equipment, and well trained employee...(Read More)


Patong Mayor, PEA drive on to bury communication cables

About the money: Yes, about 50% of the 'guest accommodation on Phuket is illegal ( government figures), they don't pay tourist tax. Of cours...(Read More)


Phuket readies for Christmas, New Year road safety onslaught

What is that local fascination with road safety during .."annual 7 days of danger" ? As Thailand has been recently promoted to nr 1 top ran...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
World Entertainment
Photo Galleries
COLOURING BOOK
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2017 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.