Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Few fashion items mix as well as the marinière and the Basque beret (as any reader of The Beret Project knows). There is the (perceived) strong French connection, of course; in times of recession people tend to cling to their national identity as well as people wanting to feel/look French, but there is also a very practical component.
Canadian musician Pépé
Both the marinière and the beret are functional and practical to the extreme. That both provide great looks is an added bonus, like the ease of ordering both here!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Vintage Posters

Two great posters, featuring marinières; the top one focusing on the naval background of the shirt, while the picture below seems to suggest a Basque connection to the marinière. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Readers who have looked at my blog The Beret Project know of my other fascination: the Basque beret.
A hat that actually goes very well together with the marinière; widely adopted by sailors, mariners, yachtsmen & yachtswomen and writers like myself - among others. The beret pictured above is I guess the ultimate combination (or compromise), but I'd rather stick to the authentic merino wool Basque berets as made by Boinas Elosegui, or the Argentinean Basques in merino or cotton by Boinas Bonigor.
The history of the Basque beret goes a long way back, to Noah's arc, accoding to some, but the beret as we know it nowadays originates in the French Béarn (no, not from the Basque Country - that mistake is Napoleon's responsibility). The Basques did take a very strong liking to the beret though (hence Napoleon's confusion) and took the beret with them on their fishing trips and migrations to the North Atlantic and South America.

These days, the beret is an icon for the gaucho's in South America and rapidly re-gaining popularity in Europe - by men and women (it was Marlene Dietrich who caused a scandal in the 1920's when donning such a male hat as the beret in public...). 

And in the U.S. as well, with fashion leaders American Apparel having their own line of berets (made by Parkhurst, Canada), people like Prince and Madonna wearing a beret on stage and the catwalk.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Uniform? Indeed

With all these actors,models, fashion designers and  fashionistas, it is easy to forget that the marinière really is part of the uniform of sailors in many navies around the world. Above a sailor on the French frigate Jean Bart, with a marinière under his vareuse (smock), while below are two Chinese sailors in a very similar outfit. 
God forbid these countries ever go to war with each other, as it's pretty hard telling them apart by their uniforms. Below a Russian sailor
and here at least something a bit more original:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gerald and Sara Murphy

Gerald Clery Murphy and Sara Sherman Wiborg were wealthy, expatriate Americans who moved to the French Riviera in the early 20th century and who, with their generous hospitality and flair for parties, created a vibrant social circle, particularly in the 1920s, that included a great number of artists and writers of the Lost Generation. Gerald had a brief but significant career as a painter.
Gerald and Sara Murphy on La Garoupe beach, Antibes, 1926

Nicole and Dick Diver of Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald are widely recognized as based on the Murphys, based on marked physical similarities, although many of their friends, as well as the Murphys themselves, saw as much or more of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald's relationship and personalities in the couple than the Murphys. Ernest Hemingway's couple in Garden of Eden is not explicitly based on this pair, but given the similarities and the setting (Nice), there is clearly some basis for such an assumption. Interestingly, guests of the Murphys would often swim at Eden Roc, an event emulated in The Garden of Eden.

426_An-Unsymposium-for-G756240Calvin Tomkins's biography of Gerald and Sara Murphy Living Well Is the Best Revenge was published in 1971, and Amanda Vaill documented their lives in the 1995 book Everybody Was So Young. Both accounts are balanced and kind, unlike some of their portrayals in the memoirs and fictitious works by their many friends, including Fitzgerald and Hemingway.
In 1982, Honoria Murphy Donnelly, the Murphys' daughter, with Richard N. Billings, wrote Sara & Gerald: Villa America and After.
On July 12, 2007, a play by Crispin Whittell entitled Villa America, based entirely on the relationships between Sara and Gerald Murphy and their friends had its world premiere at the Williamstown Theatre Festival with Jennifer Mudge playing Sara Murphy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Françoise Sagan

Françoise Sagan (1935 – 2004), real name Françoise Quoirez, was a French playwright, novelist, and screenwriter. Sagan was best known for works with strong romantic themes involving wealthy and disillusioned bourgeois characters.
Sagan was married twice: both times less than 2.5 years, and she had a son, Denis, born in June 1963.After her 2nd divorce, she took a lesbian long-term lover, fashion stylist Peggy Roche, and had a male lover, Bernard Frank, a married essayist obsessed with reading and eating. She added to her self-styled "family" by beginning a long-term lesbian affair with the French Playboy magazine editor Annick Geille, after she approached Sagan for an article for her magazine.
Fond of traveling in the US, she was often seen with Truman Capote and Ava Gardner. On 14 April 1957, while driving her Aston-Martin, she was involved in an accident that left her in a coma for some time. She also loved driving her Jaguar to Monte Carlo for gambling sessions.
In the 1990s Sagan was charged with and convicted of possession of cocaine.
Sagan was, at various times of her life, addicted to a number of drugs. She was a long-term user of prescription pills, amphetamines, cocaine, morphine, and alcohol. When the police came for an inspection of her house, her dog Banko showed cocaine to them and also licked the cocaine. Sagan told the police, "Look! he likes it too."
Sagan died 24 September 2004 at the age of 69. At her own request she was buried at her beloved birthplace, Cajarc.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Back Again: Small Sizes @ $21.50!

They're back again: the White & Navy Striped Telnyashka's in size 50 and 52 (meaning cm's across the chest - armpit to armpit). Now available here.

On the Success of the Marinière

Jean Paul Gaultier poses in the hallway of the ELLE Décoration apartment at Paris’s Cité de l’Architecture, which he recently swathed in the iconic blue-and-white fabric

The marinière, has spilled off Paris runways and onto the streets of just about every city in the industrialized world. Managers of the two Brittany-based brands that have produced the boat-necked top for decades say business is booming: At Saint James, first-quarter sales of the shirts were three times those registered during the same period last year; at Armor-Lux, purchases of the lightweight jersey version were up 250 percent.
Read more at FranceMagazine.

 A circa 1900 photo of French sailors wearing marinières (the fellow to the right also sports a vareuse)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Striped shirt, cap, sandpaper beard, smelling of sweat, Condor, the captain of Moena is the type of adventurer one associates with the nostalgic dream of sailing the seas.

From the port of Marseilles, where he appreciates his pastis, the petangue, and pretty girls, he sets sail for Africa or Asia, accompanied by Yango, his Chinese cook, confidant and trusted man. As a good adventurer, Condor has a knack for getting into impossible and dangerous situations, but the Condor series are more than just comic books for dreamy boys. Condor has a fine set of morals (be it his own, really) and his adventures read like any good thriller.

Jean-Pierre Autheman and Dominique Rousseau are the creators of Condor.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Sergei Parajanov, or in his native Armenian languageSargis Hovsepi Parajanyan(Սարգիս Հովսեփի Փարաջանյան) was one of the best known directors of Soviet films. Born in Tbilisi, (then the S.S.R. of) Georgia, to an Armenian family, his work reflected the ethnic diversity of the Caucusus where he was raised.

His first major work was Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964), which earned him an international reputation for its rich use of costume and color, and its whimsical portrayal of rural life. Possibly his greatest work, The Color of Pomegranates (1969), described the life of the Armenian poet Sayat Nova. The film angered the Soviet authorities, who claimed that it evoked nationalist sentiment.
Claiming that Paradjanov promoted homosexuality, the government arrested him in 1973 and sentenced him to five years in a labor camp. A large number of prominent artists, writers and filmmakers protested his sentence, but Paradjanov was only released four years later, in large part due to the efforts of the French surrealist Louis Aragon. He was banned for making films for many years afterwards, when he was living in Tbilisi, but he was allowed to make The Legend of Suram Fortress (1984), which captured much of the color of his earlier work.
He managed to direct three more films before he died of cancer in Yerevan, Armenia, in 1990. A house was built for him in Yerevan which was completed shortly after his death, but which now houses all his belongings and has been turned into the Parajanov Museum.
And even in Soviet times, it was fashionable to wear the telnyashka in artist's circles.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010