Thursday, August 31, 2017

Exhibition on the Béarnaise Costume

Catalog of the 1975 Exhibition on the Béarnaise Costume, an exhibition that displayed the traditional garments worn by the Béarnais.
Naturally, many berets - Béarn being the birthplace of the "Basque" beret.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Chimney Sweeps

Legend has it that in the year 1066 (approximately) King William of Britain was saved by a chimney sweep, who pushed him out of the way of a runaway horse and carriage.  
As a reward, the king invited the chimney sweep to his daughter's wedding.  Ever since it has been considered to be good luck to have a chimney sweep at a wedding or special event, or even visit your house.  
In addition, the king declared all chimney sweeps to be lucky, and allowed their profession only to wear top hats, which was a custom previously reserved for royalty and the gentry.  It then became lucky for a sweep to wear 13 buttons on his jacket, and legend has it that a sweep can cancel out any bad luck.
That may all be right for Great Britain, on the Continent berets were a much more common attire for chimney sweeps (a lot more practical than a top hat while balancing on roof tops). 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Montmartre is a large hill in Paris's 18th arrondissement. It is 130 m (430 ft) high and gives its name to the surrounding district, part of the Right Bank in the northern section of the city.
 The historic district established by the City of Paris in 1995 is bordered by rue Caulaincourt and rue Custine on the north, rue de Clignancourt on the east, and boulevard de Clichy and boulevard de Rochechouart to the south, containing 60 ha (150 acres). Montmartre is primarily known for the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur on its summit and as a nightclub district. The other, older, church on the hill is Saint Pierre de Montmartre, which claims to be the location at which the Jesuit order of priests was founded.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, during the Belle Époque, many artists had studios or worked in or around Montmartre, including Salvador Dalí, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro, and Vincent van Gogh. Montmartre is also the setting for several hit films.
It is also one of few places, these days, where you can spot many berets “in the wild”, worn by the many painters active in Montmartre. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Porta lo beret (Porte le béret)

Porta lo beret ("Porte le béret", or "Wear the beret") is a beautiful short video in Gascon (with subtitles in French), showing the pride of wearing the beret in every word spoken.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Sandra Dillon

This great photo is by Sandra Dillon, an American photographer who's work I much admire. I'll quote Sandra:
"Gina Kardos & I hitch-hiked to Croatia during the war. We heard about a creepy local island called Witch Island and of course we had to go! It was a very odd and mysterious island. I could go on and on about the strange things that occurred. This wonderful old man invited us into his home to share some wine with him. He handed me a dusty old glass complete with bugs and cobwebs. I drank of his wine and took this photo. It feels veryHenri Cartier-Bresson, if I could say so myself! A few days later my camera was stolen and thrown in the sea. I ended up sneaking into the thief's house and retrieved my water-soaked camera only to save this role of film. What a story! — at Mali Lošinj."

When contacting Sandra for permission to publish her photo here, she added the following story: "my camera was stolen and thrown into the sea, it was found by a fisherman and I snuck into his house and found it on the kitchen table. The camera was completely ruined but I was able to retrieve the most important thing - the roll of film and that image was the only frame on the roll that wasn't completely ruined!"
Thanks Sandra

Friday, August 25, 2017

Jáchyme, hoď ho do stroje

In the 1974 film Jáchyme, hoď ho do stroje (Joachim, throw it in the machine!), a sincere, but shy and distracted provincial young man, Frantisek Koudelka (Ludek Sobota) leaves his village to work in Prague as a mechanic. 
Before starting his journey he buys a computer made horoscope with biorhythm charts, marked according to his date of birth. There are precarious, unsuccessful and even critical days and a few successful days in his future. 
The clumsy luckless person Frantisek has finally a guidance for his life. The film is full of symbolism and many phrases spoken in the film have become mainstay quotes in Czech idiom.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Perchicot sings "le béret"

Perchicot sings "le béret", by Lucien Boyer, with orchestra.
A 78 record dated le 1er Mars 1935.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Re-discovered SAS Photo's of WWII

A never-before-seen trove of SAS records including some of the first photographs of the elite force has been revealed after selling at auction. The extensive collection, also including medals and documents, was accumulated by Lance Corporal William James Cooke towards the end of WWII.
Captured NAZI flag behind enemy's lines
Cooke’s deeply personal collection shows some of Britain’s unseen war heroes who waged a secret war.
A trove of 50 photographs show soldiers smiling and are accompanied by handwritten captions.
The images were put up for sale at Hampshire-based auctioneer Bellmans and have been snapped up for £1,350.
The liberation of Norway, outside Bergen with local children aboard

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Burel Factory

It all began in 1947, the year that saw the birth of Lanificio Império, the most important wool factory in the region of Serra da Estrela.

In 2010 the factory was discovered by two mountain explorers, João Tomás and Isabel Costa, who, after realizing the heritage and the cultural value of the space, decided not to let Burel die and proceed with the recovery of the factory; this became Burel Factory.

Today it continues to produce using the same machines and traditional equipment, from the time the industry was still made by hand, thus ensuring the production of unique, different and high quality fabrics, preserving the past, reinterpreting it and making it into a story of the future.

Monday, August 21, 2017

On Kitchens and Unexpected Finds

Sometimes berets pop up where you least expect them... After redoing our kitchen, designer/installer Sebastian Bissinger had some photo's taken for his website portfolio.
Nice pictures (nice kitchen, indeed), but going one page further, I see a boinero prominently present in a Miramar (Wellington) cafe, outfitted by Sebastian. 
No major news, I know, but little finds like this make my day. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Roland Garros

Eugène Adrien Roland Georges Garros (1888 –1918) was an early French aviator and a fighter pilot during World War I.
He started his aviation career in 1909 flying a Demoiselle (Dragonfly) monoplane, an aircraft that only flew well with a small lightweight pilot. He gained Ae.C.F. licence no. 147 in July 1910.
On 3 August 1914, Garros drove his aeroplane into a German Zeppelin dirigible above the German frontier destroying the aircraft and killing its crew of two in what was considered to be the first air battle in world history.
On 18 April 1915, either Garros's fuel line clogged or, by other accounts, his aircraft was downed by ground fire, and he glided to a landing on the German side of the lines. Garros failed to destroy his aircraft completely before being taken prisoner: most significantly, the gun and armoured propeller remained intact. Legend has it that after examining the plane, German aircraft engineers, led by Fokker, designed the improved interrupter gear system. In fact the work on Fokker's system had been going for at least six months before Garros's aircraft fell into their hands. With the advent of the interrupter gear the tables were turned on the Allies, with Fokker's planes shooting down many Allied aircraft, leading to what became known as the Fokker Scourge.
Garros finally managed to escape from a POW camp in Germany on 14 February 1918, after several attempts, and rejoined the French army.[12] He settled into Escadrille 26 to pilot a Spad, and claimed two victories on 2 October 1918. On 5 October 1918, he was shot down and killed near Vouziers, Ardennes, a month before the end of the war and one day before his 30th birthday.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Portuguese Boinas

The Portuguese word 'boina' comes from the Spanish 'boina', but has not the same meaning.
A 'boina' in Spanish means specifically a beret; Basque or military style, while the Portuguese word 'boina' can mean Basque Beret, but also the traditional Portuguese cap with a small peak. 
Boinas were and still are popular in Portugal and unlike the Basque beret, this popularity really is among all ages and both sexes. 
Portuguese boinas are traditionally made of felted wool, but are now available in a wide range of other materials such as tweed, linen, cotton and synthetics.
The boinas stocked at South Pacific Berets are exclusively made of burel, a 100% woven wool felt, made from Bordaleira sheep wool. This breed lives only in the Serra da Estrela region, the highest mountains in Portugal and is capable of growing extremely resistant but still pleasant to the touch fibres.
Beautiful artisan made traditional boinas in one of the world's most beautiful fabrics!

Friday, August 18, 2017

MMDA Berets in Manila

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has spent P100,000 (US$2000) on berets for 2,000 of its traffic constables, in what has been described as an effort to spruce up the image of MMDA personnel.
Members of the Philippine Army’s elite Scout Ranger Regiment, which MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim once headed, are reportedly not amused. Neither are the commandos of the police Special Action Force, who must work to earn their berets in the elite SAF. Taxpayers are also grumbling about the expenses for the MMDA berets, with more to come for those tasked to enforce ordinances against jaywalking and littering, according to reports.
The principal concern of the public, of course, is the performance of the MMDA traffic aides. This means not just lying in wait at strategic spots to pounce on motorists along speed traps, but actually untangling traffic and keeping vehicular flow moving. Jeepneys and buses
Whatever headgear they are wearing, traffic constables are also expected to remain at their posts during downpours and floods. The MMDA should provide appropriate protective gear and equipment against the elements for its personnel so they don’t disappear when the rain starts pouring. Heavy-duty protective dust masks are also needed by traffic aides against the foul air of Metro Manila.
MMDA officials said the berets have boosted the morale of their traffic aides, who now pay more attention to their grooming and act snappy. This in turn encourages discipline among motorists, the MMDA officials said. Whether improved grooming will end kotong or petty extortion remains to be seen. For the public, the main concern is whether the traffic aides will do a better job. There’s traffic to keep flowing, and gridlocks to untangle.

Thanks, Heath

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Boinas Portuguesas Burel

Brand new at South Pacific Berets: Boinas Portuguesas, of 100% burel from the Sera da Estrela!
Burel is a 100% woven wool felt, made from Bordaleira sheep wool. This breed lives only in the Serra da Estrela region, the highest mountains in Portugal and is capable of growing extremely resistant but still pleasant to the touch fibres.
In the heart of Portugal’s Serra da Estrela lies the village of Manteigas. Shepherds have lived in these mountains since the 12th century and the village is characterized by the weaving industry and manufacturing of burel cloth, an ancient tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation.
The sheep of the Serra da Estrela have allowed humans to settle this inhospitable part of Portugal by providing wool, milk and meat for many centuries and until recently, the region’s economy was fully based on sheep’s products. 
It was the constant and unlimited supply of fresh water to wash the wool and drive the machines and looms (pre-Industrial Revolution) that enabled the industry to flourish in Manteigas.
With the introduction of synthetics and cheap imports from overseas, the burel industry went into decline and almost disappeared, throwing entire families into poverty and causing many to move to the cities or abroad.
The most important wool factory in the region was Lanificio Império (1947). This factory was bought in 2010 by two keen hikers and mountain explorers, João Tomás and Isabel Costa, who, after realizing the heritage and the cultural value of the space, decided not to let burel die and proceed with the recovery of the factory that became ‘Burel Factory’.
Burel Factory continues using the same machines and traditional equipment, ensuring the production of unique, different and high quality fabrics, preserving the past, reinterpreting it and making it into a story of the future.
At South Pacific Berets now the Burel Boinas Portuguesas in the original Sarrubeco (natural) and the custom made colours 'Jeans' and 'Exército verde' (Army Green).