This article by Peter Allen I found on www.telegraph.co.uk
Beret returns to
Once worn by everyone from farmers to existentialist philosophers, the black beret was as much a part of French culture as onion sellers and
By Peter Allen in
Last Updated: 11:14AM BST 14 Apr 2009
Beret sales have doubled since the start of the credit crunch
Now after years in decline, the Gallic headgear is back in fashion with manufacturers reporting a doubling in sales.
Young people in major cities including
Patricia Jourdain, a style commentator who runs a designer boutique on the fashionable Rue Jacob in
"Rather than solely being worn by country people or intellectuals the beret is now an extremely chic fashion item. Many models wore them at this year's Paris Fashion Week. British visitors to
Manufacturers around Orlon Sainte-Marie, once the beret making capital in the south-west of the country, confirmed sales had doubled since the start of the credit crunch.
A spokesman for Blancq-Olibet said that, after facing closure less than a decade ago, the business was now producing around 300,000 a year.
Bobos – the French equivalent of yuppies – are said to be increasingly buying the berets as a link with the villages where their grandparents lived.
Stephane Jacquet, a milliner from
"I think they are looking for an authentic and tangible symbol of deepest
"The beret is perhaps synonymous with
As far as wearing a beret is concerned, Mr Jacquet said style could say a great deal about a wearer.
"There is a popular myth, which says the side to which you choose to slant your beret, left or right, is a sign of your political affiliations," he explained.
Both Jean Paul Sartre, the philosopher, and Pablo Picasso, the artist, were known for wearing their berets in a "straight" fashion, neither to the left nor the right.
Less impressively, so was Michael Crawford, who played Frank Spencer in the BBC comedy Some Mother's Do 'Ave 'Em.