Monday, May 31, 2010

Les Marins font la Mode

This fantastic book is everything that this blog is about! The history, in the broadest sense of the word, of the Striped Shirt. I managed to get a copy through Amazon France - highly recommended, especially since it won't be long until you'd have to pay a fortune for this (collectible) book. 

It is the book that accompanies the exhibition at the Musée National de la Marine; a wealth of information, historic and contemporary photographs, uniforms, fashion, anecdotes... A must-have for any marinière enthusiast. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

'Kleidermusterung"; Gay in the German Navy

Two sailors in a line waiting for clothing inspection break rank. The one furthest to the right assumes a feminine pose of modesty with his eyes cast downward and his left arm held coyly behind his head. The adjacent sailor glances over with desire. 
The picture is undated; likely to be end 1920's or early 1930's.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gay Sailors

Sailors, or men in sailor's outfits, do very well in the gay scene, and there is nothing new about that. Many interesting photographs of (near) nude men with sailor's hats or blue striped shirts originate in the first half of last century.
Some nice examples I found at the site of V.M.P. Vintage (Rediscovering the Models and Photographers from the Golden Age of Gay Erotica).
And in more recent times, we see the highly stylized photographs of Pierre (Commoy) and Gilles (Blanchard), a gay French couple who produce very interesting pictures, using their own costumes and self-build sets. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso is one of the best known advertisers of the Breton shirt, turning it into an icon for painters and art aficionados, leaving a legacy of photographs of himself with Breton shirt (and beret).
Like this photograph 'Picasso and the loaves', by Robert Doisneau, 1952
or the master with Francoise Gilot, also by Robert Doisneau

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Coco before Chanel

A little girl who is sent with her sister to an orphanage in the heart of France, who waits in vain every Sunday for her father to come for her...

A cabaret performer with a weak voice who sings to an audience of drunken soldiers...

A humble seamstress, who stitches hems at the back of a provincial tailor's shop...

A young, skinny courtesan, to whom protector Etienne Balsan offers a safe haven, amongst the idle and decadent...
A woman in love who knows she will never be anyone's wife, refusing marriage even to Boy Capel, the man who returned her love...

A rebel who finds the conventions of her time oppressive, and instead dresses in her lovers' clothes...
This is the story of Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, who begins her life as a headstrong orphan, and through an extraordinary journey becomes the legendary couturier who embodied the modern woman and became a timeless symbol of success, freedom and style.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Jacob Dahlgren

Jacob Dahlgren (born 1970 in Stockholm) is an intelligent, amusing and visually fascinating artist, whose life merges with his art.He has over 1,000 striped t-shirts. His paintings based on them were on display at Galerie Anhava in 2003.

Dahlgren eats tinned food and makes gaily coloured pieces of sculpture from the empty cans. He can make sculptures from IKEA clothes-hangers or a relief from disposable plastic cups. Scales, packaging for beef stock or other products, dart boards and crispbread turn into art in his mind and hands.
With each of his works Dahlgren proves to us that everyday life contains material for art. He processes the everyday experience, reminding us that it is worth our while to look around us. In a sense, he still carries on the tradition of constructivism, reforming and refreshing it, and placing it in the present-day context.

Dahlgren represented Sweden at the last Venice Biennial and has since then held a solo exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle and participated in exhibitions such as "Superabundant" at the Turner Contemporary in Margate, "Stitched and Gathered at the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center of Moma in New York and "Dangerous Beauty" at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York. At Kiasma in Helsinki he participated in the recent exhibition "Image and After" of works from the collections. Dahlgren has been candidate for the Ars Fennica Prize.

Jacob Dahlgren has made several public works of art in Sweden, and his works are in public and private collections both in Sweden and outside the country.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

American Apparel

American Apparel is an Industrial Revolution.
American Apparel is the largest clothing manufacturer in the United States,located in down town LA with over 4000 employees. It is a vertically-integrated clothing manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer that also performs its own design, advertising, and marketing and is best-known for making basic cotton knitwear such as T-shirts and underwear, but in recent years it has expanded - to include all sorts of clothing and accesories for men, women, children, babies and dogs.
With their recently opened stores in China, A.A. are now selling "Made in USA" clothing in the largest consumer market in the world. 
The company is known for its provocative and controversial advertising campaigns, which is largely the inspiration of the company CEO Dov Charney. According to Adage, American Apparel's advertising 'telegraphs the brand' from person to person. Their print campaigns are widely considered to be some of the best in the industry. The sexually charged advertising has been criticized, but has also been lauded for honesty and lack of airbrushing. American Apparel images often display subjects with their blemishes, imperfections and asymmetrical features highlighted and attached with brief, personal descriptions. 

Many of the models in American Apparel's sexual advertising are recruited by Charney and his colleagues on the street, or in the company stores.

Controversial in many ways, with ecological sound practices, social justice, philantropy and advocacy for immigration issues on the company's agenda.
And yes, they manufacture some beautiful Bretons; not only sweaters and tee's, but bodysuits, bra's and knickers as well.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Entrepreneurism in Russia

During the Soviet period in Russia free commerce and telemarketing were non-existent, e-commerce was science fiction. Only the state had the right to sell goods. Then, in the early 1990's, things changed; Gorbachev, glasnost, perestroika...
Now anyone could sell anything to anyone.
Not only the present-day oligarchs made their fortunes in those days (selling the assets of the people), also small scale entrepreneurism saw the light of day, producing catalogues offering these singlet's for example...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Stripey Bathing Suit with Matching Stockings

Not just a sailor's attire, but also available as bathing suit:
Gentleman's Emporium sells this 1900's stripey bathing suit: 
"Sun-bathe in style with our dapper gentleman's bathing suit! Traditional half-sleeve crew-neck T-shirt, long shorts, and matching stockings in prominent stripe pattern. Shorts have gathered elastic waist for a comfortable fit. USA-made of durable, stretchable 100% poly knit fabric, and available in Red, Green and Blue."

I like the matching stockings!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot, born 28 September 1934, is a French animal rights activist and a former actress, fashion model, and singer.
In her early life Bardot was an aspiring ballet dancer. She started her acting career in 1952 and after appearing in 16 films became world-famous due to her role in the controversial film And God Created Woman. During her career in show business Bardot starred in 48 films, performed in numerous musical shows, and recorded 80 songs. After her retirement from the entertainment industry in 1973, Bardot established herself as an animal rights activist. During the 1990s she became outspoken due to her criticism of immigration, race-mixing, some aspects of homosexuality and Islam in France, and has been fined five times for "inciting racial hatred".

Bardot is recognised for popularizing bikini swimwear in early films such as Manina (Woman without a Veil, 1952), in her appearances at Cannes and in many photo shoots.
Bardot also brought into fashion the choucroute ("Sauerkraut") hairstyle (a sort of beehive hair style) and gingham clothes after wearing a checkered pink dress, designed by Jacques Esterel, at her wedding to Charrier. She was the subject for an Andy Warhol painting.

In addition to popularizing the bikini swimming suit, Bardot has also been credited with popularizing the city of St. Tropez and the town of Buzios, Brazil, which she visited in 1964 with her boyfriend at the time, Brazilian musician Bob Zagury. A statue by Christina Motta, in Breton singlet, honours Brigitte Bardot in Buzios, Brazil.

And apart from all this, she is well known for promoting the Breton shirt.

Sunday, May 2, 2010